Is Australia in danger of becoming the US’s ‘deputy sheriff’ in the South China Sea?

Recent comments by Defence Minister Richard Marles about Australia, China and the international law of the sea raise the spectre of Australia acting as an Indo-Pacific “deputy sheriff” for the United States, enforcing the rules-based international order. According to Marles, China’s live-fire military operations encircling Taiwan have breached the UN Law of the Sea, which requires countries to ensure peace and security in international waters. Marles called on China to cease its operations around Taiwan and asserted that Australia will continue its own peaceful military operations in the region. Read…

Chief of Navy details Beijing’s ‘unusual’ South China Sea behaviour as Australia prepares for more spy ships off Darwin coast

Australian warships are being “routinely” shadowed by Chinese military vessels in contested South China Sea waters, in behaviour the new Chief of Navy describes as “unusual”. Key points: Australia’s Chief of Navy says Chinese military vessels are regularly shadowing Australian warships But Vice Admiral Mark Hammond says interactions with the People’s Liberation Army remain professional He also played down warnings America’s shipyards might not be able to accommodate building Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines In a wideranging interview, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond insisted the interactions with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) remained…

U.S., UK, Australia leaders: progress made in Australia getting nuclear-powered sub

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com Register WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – The leaders of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia said in a statement on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS security pact that they have made “significant progress” towards Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine. “We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” the statement said. AUKUS is seen as an effort by the Western allies to push back against China’s growing power and influence, particularly…

China’s Shandong Aircraft Carrier Holds Drills In South China Sea Amid Subtle Warnings From Australia

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) shifted its attention to the South China Sea after days of live fire drills around the Taiwan Strait. According to reports, China conducted combat drills in the South China Sea with the Shandong aircraft carrier battle group. The Chinese navy announced on August 24 that the aircraft carrier Shandong and its battle group have been training in the South China Sea. According to a WeChat post by the People’s Liberation Army’s South Sea Fleet, the purpose of the training was to assess soldiers’ combat…

Australia drifting towards a China conflict at sea

Recent comments by Defense Minister Richard Marles about Australia, China and the international law of the sea raise the specter of Australia acting as an Indo-Pacific “deputy sheriff” for the United States, enforcing the rules-based international order. According to Marles, China’s live-fire military operations encircling Taiwan have breached the UN Law of the Sea, which requires countries to ensure peace and security in international waters. Marles called on China to cease its operations around Taiwan and asserted that Australia will continue its own peaceful military operations in the region. Marles…

Why is Australia risking conflict with China?

Like all nations, Australia has a right to a military presence in the South China Sea. But how and why it exercises that right have become key policy questions. Should Australia risk kinetic conflict with China with aerial intelligence probes along its coast and possible freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) challenging its maritime claims, all in support of the US strategy to contain China? If so, why?  Prominent Australian analyst Rory Medcalf has summarized Australia’s interests in the South China Sea as “rules, balance and lifelines.” He says Australia’s military is there…

US, Australia lead joint drills to flex muscles, upend regional stability amid tensions in Taiwan Straits

The guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson sailed through the Taiwan Straits on April 26, 2022. Photo:VCG Exercise Pitch Black, a military drill participated in by the US, Australia and other 15 countries, reportedly started on Friday with the US’ purpose being to pull more countries into an anti-China united frontline and show the “unity” of the West to pressure China over the Taiwan question. However, analysts noted that it is impossible for the US to form an alliance through one military exercise as participants have no shared goal and frequent US-led…

Australia and the sport of China baiting

Journalists’ aggressive questioning of China’s ambassador Xiao Qian’s presentation to the National Press Club on August 10 again showed how the bourgeois media stirs animosity towards China. The reporting of Qian’s Press Club address, according to Sinologist Stephen Fitzgerald, “revealed as much about the reporters themselves as it did about the content of the Ambassador’s remarks”. See also Fitzgerald was Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic. He observed that Qian’s speech was “friendly, conciliatory and constructive”. It highlighted “the benefits of the economic relationship” and “Beijing’s willingness to reset and…

German fighter jets en route to Australia as Berlin shifts focus to Indo-Pacific

BERLIN, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Germany is sending 13 military aircraft to joint exercises in Australia, the air force’s largest peacetime deployment, underlining Berlin’s increased focus on the Indo-Pacific amid rising tensions with China in the region. Last year, a German warship sailed into the South China Sea for the first time in almost 20 years, a move that saw Berlin joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region amid growing alarm over Beijing’s territorial ambitions. Tensions have also risen over Taiwan since China – which…

Australia seeks closer maritime cooperation with Brunei

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Australian government is keen to deepen maritime cooperation with Brunei through increased defence engagement and academic training to strengthen international law in the South China Sea. Following Brunei-Australia senior officials’ talks last month, Australian High Commissioner Luke Arnold said maritime issues represent the “most important” aspect of bilateral cooperation. The envoy explained that Canberra aims to “intensify” bilateral training on international law of the sea, in order to build a cadre of Bruneian experts who can address challenges to sovereignty in the South China Sea,…