A DFAT spokesman said it had no public comment to make about the deal. But respected defence strategist Paul Dibb said if the patrol boats came armed, it would be a concern for Canberra, which is expected to provide more than $72 million in foreign aid to East Timor this year.Got that, Mr Gusmao? Do as we say, not what we do.
"It's a matter of how much further it goes, and what sort of footprint China sees it has the right to have in our immediate neighbourhood where clearly we (Australia) see ourselves as the leading power with the most influence," Professor Dibb said.
"If they are basically civilian-type Customs patrol boats, then that's one thing. But if they are built by the PLA (People's Liberation Army) and were armed, then that might start to raise a deal more interest (in Canberra)," he added.
Defence expert Alan Behm said East Timor would learn quickly that patrol boats were expensive to operate and maintain. He said a better investment would have been for the Gusmao-led Government in Dili to improve social infrastructure.
We'll steal your oil fields and only give you a pittance in foreign aid, ensuring that Timor L'Este remains the poorest country in the Asia-Pacific region, but we still expect you to rely on our brave military forever.
Elsewhere, Dr Gideon Polya sees an anti-China geo-political agenda behind the hypocritical US-, UK-, EU- and Australian criticisms of China over Tibet. For example:
The annual infant death rate in Occupied Afghanistan (6.2%) is 51 times that in Occupier Australia.It's only our responsibility when things go right.