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Two Australian warships will hold exercises with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea next week, Australia's defense minister said on Thursday, just days after a U.S. navy patrol near a man-made Chinese island in the disputed waters angered Beijing.
China rebuked Washington for sending a U.S. guided-missile destroyer close to Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago on Tuesday, saying it had tracked and warned the USS Lassen and called in the American ambassador to protest.
Australia, a key U.S. ally in the region, expressed its strong support for freedom of navigation, while stopping short of welcoming the patrol.
Speculation has risen that Australia might undertake similar exercises, either alongside the U.S. navy or on its own, but any move would risk antagonising top trading partner China.
Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, said Australia would want to try and avoid being seen as "deputy sheriff" to the United States in the region.
"It would be more effective to demonstrate broader international concerns if Australia were to assert freedom of navigation under its own political and operational banner and not to ride U.S. coat-tails," he said.
Defence Minister Senator David Johnston has said that under the new government, Australia will move to balance ties between China and the United States, rather than choosing one or the other.
Australia has been a vital source of the high technology needed for China to enforce its claims to vast reaches of the western Pacific, including the base technology for the design of the Houbei class missile boat.[
originally posted by: CaptainBeno
a reply to: Raggedyman
I'm Sorry, I disagree strongly with your points.
You are so off the mark it's almost delusional.
What, (and I'm all ears) do the Chinese have that could possibly even think of competing with the US Navy?
originally posted by: gps777
originally posted by: cavtrooper7
Austrailia IS AN ALLY to the us and always has been.
WE love you guys,everybody wants a koala bear here.
We`re keeping the Koalas, you guys can have the Drop Bears.
originally posted by: Granite
a reply to: Martin75
This will make General MacArther turnover in his grave...
Can our many Aussie members please explain this news?