Australia plans naval exercises with China
Australia said Thursday it would continue scheduled live-fire naval exercises with China, even after close ally the United States sent a warship into disputed South China Sea waters this week.
On Tuesday, Washington sent its USS Lassen destroyer within 12 nautical miles of small artificial islands in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing and vowed to send more, sparking fury in China.
The disputed waters — claimed in part by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and others — have become the stage for a burgeoning tussle between the world’s two largest economic and military powers as they struggle for regional dominance.
Australia’s Defense Minister Marise Payne said after the incident she supported the Americans’ right to freedom of navigation under international law, but added that Canberra was not involved in the US action.