Mr Morrison was quick to reject the notion Australia would be home to any American weapon despite Canberra and Washington’s shared rivalry with Beijing. US officials are concerned over China’s alleged antagonism in the South China Sea, where President Xi has been attempting to take control of the majority of the region. China’s behaviour has also affected Australia in recent months, with the two nations coming close to conflict on a number of occasions despite maintaining diplomatic relations.
On the missiles, Mr Morrison said: “It’s not been asked of us, not being considered, not been put to us.
“I think I can rule a line under that.”
He was backed up by Defence Minister Lina Reynolds, who confirmed there would be no further discussions over missile placements with Washington officials.
The refusal will come as a blow to US-Australia relations, which have seen an upturn following Beijing’s aggression in the region.
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Chinese ships in Sydney waters earlier this year
Australia has been in a difficult diplomatic spot between the US and China in recent months.
Their two allies have been at odds ever since Mr Trump entered the White House, meaning Canberra has had to walk a political tightrope between the two.
Despite China’s reported transgressions in the South China Sea – a region Beijing officials feel they are entitled to 80 percent of – the country remains an important economic ally to Australia.
Their purchases of iron ore and coal have propped up the Australian economy since the financial crisis in 2008.
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China has been an economic ally of Australia
However, Washington’s mutual defence treaty with Canberra has resulted in several warnings from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who urged Australian policymakers to be wary of Beijing’s actions.
He said: “You can sell your soul for a pile of soybeans, or you can protect your people,” he said.
“We think it’s possible to have trade with China and yet require them to behave with the same set of rules.”
The news comes just days after the Trump administration pulled out of a landmark missile treaty with Russia.
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Relations have strained in recent months
China and the US have come to blows recently
Signed in 1987 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty meant neither nation could possess or deploy any missile with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.
Senator Bob Menendez claimed the broken treaty could result in conflict with a major superpower – whether it be China or Russia.
He said: “The withdrawal without a follow-on is the invitation for an arms race.
“And Russia will clearly spend money on updating and amplifying its weapons systems.”
His words were vindicated by US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, who celebrated the broken treaty as a sort of liberation and said he wanted to place INF missiles in Asia to counter China.
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He said: “It’s about time that we were unburdened by the treaty and kind of allowed to pursue our own interests, and our NATO allies share that view as well.
“It’s fair to say, though, that we would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later.
“I would prefer months. I just don’t have the latest state of play on timelines.”
The US’ alleged passiveness towards China has been criticised by former defence strategist Hugh, who wrote Australia’s Defence White Paper in 2000.
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Mr White added: “For decades Trump has argued that America should drop the burden of global leadership and abandon the alliances that underpin it.
“He has not criticised China’s strategic conduct and ambitions, and often goes out of his way to praise President Xi Jinping.
“Without America as the dominant power keeping things stable and peaceful in the region, the risk that Australia will find itself drawn into conflict with a major Asian power will rise, and the chances of America coming to our aid will fall.”