Australian Navy conducts Pacific exercises with Japan, South Korea and US


Australia has participated in the Western Pacific naval exercise with the US, South Korea and Japan as the US has formed regional alliances to counter China’s rise.

Over the weekend, an eight-ship fleet of more than 1500 sailors practiced surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, live-fire drills and joint maneuvers in the waters off the American territory of Guam in Micronesia.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said that Exercise Prashant Mohra had brought together four like-minded regional allies.

(LR) HMAS Stuart, Chungmugong Yi Sunsin of Korea and Ashigara of Japan featured on Tuesday 8 September before the start of Exercise Pacific Vanguard.

Regional alliances are building up as China rises and its Pacific region is thrust in both Washington and Indo-Pacific countries.  Picture: Chinese Communist Party members sworn allegiance to China's ruling party in Yunnan Province on June 28

Regional alliances are building up as China rises and its Pacific region is thrust in both Washington and Indo-Pacific countries. Picture: Chinese Communist Party members sworn allegiance to China’s ruling party in Yunnan Province on June 28

“The increasing complexity of our security environment highlights the importance of maintaining and enhancing our regional partnership,” Ms. Reynolds said in a statement.

‘We have a strong community based on shared interests, and activities like Exercise Prashant Mohra enhance our ability to contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific.’

Australia sent an Anzac-class frigate to HMAS Stuart and Arunta, capable of air defense, surveillance and underwater warfare.

Australia sailed HMAS Stuart and Arunta with warships from the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea in the Western Pacific on Wednesday

Australia on Wednesday flew HMAS Stuart and Arunta with warships from the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea in the Western Pacific

The regional powers are training together, frightened by China's increasingly aggressive stance in the Pacific.  Picture: Joint naval maneuvers on Wednesday near Guam

The regional powers are training together, frightened by China’s increasingly aggressive stance in the Pacific. Picture: Joint naval maneuvers on Wednesday near Guam

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews soldiers from a car during a military parade at Tianmen Square in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews soldiers from a car during a military parade at Tianmen Square in Beijing

Activists lit a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in India in June.  The US Secretary of State said that 'The Quad' could work against China's potential challenge.

Activists lit a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping in India in June. The US Secretary of State said that ‘The Quad’ could work against China’s potential challenge.

Australian Maritime Task Group Commander Philip Hay said it was important to practice complex combat skills with regional partners.

‘Captain Hai said the Pacific Vanguard is an invaluable opportunity to increase understanding of the Royal Australian Navy and experience working with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Republic of Korea Navy and the United States Navy.’

The exercise is part of an ongoing regional presence deployment in Australia’s Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

The US sent an Arley Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the USS Barry, capable of strategic ground attacks with Tomahawk missiles and with powerful radar and anti-aircraft capabilities.

The US also sent USNS John Erickson, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine and fleet replenishment oil manufacturer.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) dispatched JS-I, a Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer and an Atago-class guided missile destroyer to JS JS Ashigara.

JMSDF’s escort division two commander Capt Kitagawa Kijo said Japan is committed to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

South Korea sent destroyers Chungmugong Yi Sunsin and Shoye Ryu Seong-ryeong.

Forms alliances to keep international shipping lanes free for the US as a military exercise and to counter Chinese expansion in the South Pacific.

The government travel advice website Smartraveller (pictured) was updated on 7 July to warn Australians facing the risk of arbitrary detention in China

The government travel advice website Smartraveller (pictured) was updated on 7 July to warn Australians facing the risk of arbitrary detention in China

China accounts for 48.8 percent of Australia's exports and may reduce national dependence on communist bodies for international body trade.  Picture: A Chinese Navy member is standing in front of a Shandong aircraft carrier

China accounts for 48.8 percent of Australia’s exports and may reduce national dependence on communist bodies for international body trade. Picture: A Chinese Navy member is standing in front of a Shandong aircraft carrier

Australia is also considering joining a regional trade alliance with India, Japan, and the US termed ‘The Quad’, which has the potential to reduce trade dependence with China, as between Canberra and Beijing Tension reaches new heights.

US Secretary of State Stephen Bezgan has proposed a group of four countries as a way to fill the trade power vacuum in the Indo-Pacific region.

He said that Washington could eventually invite South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand to join the alliance.

If Australia had to join the trade group, it could have further soured diplomatic relations with China, which has deteriorated since Scott Morrison’s proposal for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus virus.

Amid the continuing war by Mr Morrison over strengthening Australia’s ties with the US, the communist country has imposed stricter tariffs on Australian farmers – including an 80 per cent tax on barley.

Australia may join a trade organization called 'The Quad' with the US, Japan and India following a proposal from the US government

Australia may join a trade organization called ‘The Quad’ with the US, Japan and India following a proposal from the US government

In a speech on 31 August, Mr. Bezgan specifically named China for ‘The Quad’.

He said the group could act against a ‘possible challenge from China’ and as a force similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The Indo-Pacific region lacks really strong multilateral structures,” said Mr. Bogan.

‘They have nothing of the fate of NATO or the European Union.

‘Asia’s strongest institutions are often not enough and therefore … certainly an invitation at some point to formalize such a structure.’

China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports.

Data released in August showed China’s share of Australian exports had reached 48.8 percent – at a cost of $ 14.6 billion – a high level.

DFAT secretary says Australia should stand with China

On Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Francis Adamson said standing up for the Asian powerhouse was more important than ever.

“Australia should, Australia should, Australia has, stands for our own interests because if we don’t we are on a very slippery slope,” she told The Australian.

Ms Adamson said that in the midst of the coronovirus crisis, China faced Australia’s toughest diplomatic challenge in a generation.

From 2011 to 2015, the former Australian ambassador in Beijing reported that the Asian power was becoming more assertive.

“We have seen China strive for its interests in the region, in the Indo-Pacific and globally, which is compatible with their interests, but not in line with the interests of countries like Australia,” he said.

Ms Adamson said that the Australians wanted ‘a peaceful, stable, prosperous region’ and the government would not tolerate any interference with these ideals.

ABC's Bill Bertels at Sydney Airport after his race to leave China on Tuesday

ABC Bill K Bertels of Sydney after his race to leave China on Tuesday

Michael Smith (pictured) from Australian Financial Review after leaving China

Michael Smith (pictured) from Australian Financial Review after leaving China

He warned that democratic institutions are ‘at stake’ to the Australian people like the legal system and parliament.

‘We need to ensure that our institutions are strong and we can defend ourselves. And this is where diplomacy plays, ‘Ms. Adamson explained.

He said Australia needed to take ‘action’ to counter the ‘direct challenge’ posed by China’s claims and aggression.

The DFAT Secretary also said that the narrow exodus of two Australian journalists from China is the latest example of ‘difficult issues’ between the two countries.

Bill Bertels of ABC and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review returned to Sydney on Tuesday after a five-day diplomatic standoff.

Chinese police told reporters that they were people of interest after another Australian journalist and business anchor, Cheng Lei, was detained in Beijing.

Mr Bertels and Mr Smith sheltered Australian diplomatic compounds for days as their travel rights were revoked.

Finally, consular officials gave Australia a safe passage after agreeing to this interview.

The Australian government has advised all Australians not to travel to China, warning that they may face arbitrary detention.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted DFAT for comment.

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