Breaking News: US Navy Admiral calls on ally Australia to act amid Beijing dispute
A SENIOR US Naval chief has encouraged Australian and Indonesian maritime forces to step up patrols in the disputed South China Sea, where China has been busy fortifying islands in recent years.
US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said each nation in south-east Asia needed to determine its own response to China’s military expansion. But speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he implied they should take action to monitor the superpower in the region. He said: “I think every nation is going to have to assess the situation and their own approach.
“But at some point navies are meant to get under way and be present and provide options to their countries’ leadership.
“How they choose to do that is a matter of their national sovereign approach”.
Admiral Richardson said both Australia and Indonesia were strong supporters of the rules-based international order.
“Where we can see opportunities to work together, exercise together, be present together, those I think are things that we are constantly looking for with both of those navies.”
His comments came during a tour of the region during which he has visited Japan, India and Singapore.
Last week two US Navy ships angered Beijing by taking part in a “freedom of navigation” operation which brought them within 12 nautical miles of some of the islands claimed by China in the South China Sea.
Washington is keen for Australian to carry out similar operations, but the coalition Government of Scott Morrison has so far refused to do so.
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