Australian warships are moving north towards the South China Sea while the government decides on how close our ships get to contested waters.
Six navy ships have been sent to conduct a series of military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, in its biggest task-group deployment in more than 30 years.
There are concerns they might increase tensions between the West, China and North Korea.
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Newscorp reports the move has already triggered criticism from Chinese media outlets.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) September 18, 2017
The Chinese state-owned media, People’s Daily, claimed the military exercise was hostile and that Australia was encircling China.
However, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julia Bishop told Sky News Australian defence forces regularly carry out exercises and visit regional ports.
“This is part of what the Australian Navy does,” she said.
“The Australian navy has a very long history in engagement with other navies in our region, visiting ports, carrying out joint exercises.
“Indeed we’ve carried out exercises with China in the past.”
The Foreign Minister didn’t expect the exercise to be raised during the talks at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) September 18, 2017