The Federal Government is under renewed pressure to muscle up to China in the disputed South China Sea ahead of crucial meetings between top US and Australian officials this week.
Last week, the ABC revealed that Australian warships encountered the Chinese navy while sailing through the region to the Philippine Sea for training exercises with the American and Japanese navies.
Australia has now hardened its position against Beijing’s territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, labelling the activity illegal in a statement to the United Nations.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Foreign Minister Marise Payne will be likely to discuss the regional flashpoint with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mark Esper at annual AUSMIN talks in Washington.
The US has been conducting an increasing number of freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) in the South China Sea and has made no secret that it would like to see other nations — including Australia — do the same.
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WNU Editor: The nations that need to join this “alliance” are the countries that are being directly impacted by China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea …. Vietnam, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia …. Defence strategists say more nations need to join Australia and the US in South China Sea (Sydney Morning Herald). Unfortunately, these nations are staying on the sidelines.
Australia to pursue ‘national interest’ when US asks for South China Sea action — The Guardian
Australia tells U.S. it has no intention of injuring important China ties — Reuters
US, Australia seek new military cooperation in face of China — AFP
Australia to step up South China Sea defence cooperation with US – but won’t commit to patrols — The Guardian
US presses Australia to step up naval exercises in South China Sea — The Guardian
U.S., Australian Officials Reaffirm Strong Alliance — US Department of Defense