Australia and America defence forces will today begin the biennial joint military exercise, Talisman Sabre, in Queensland.
The exercise, which also includes Japan, Canada, the UK and New Zealand, is aimed at improving readiness and interoperability among forces and will involve 25,000 military personnel.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has observed a Chinese military vessel heading towards Australia ahead of the exercise, but has not taken an active prohibitive measure to stop this development. Per the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China’s People’s Liberation Army has the right to free navigation in international waters and Australia’s exclusive economic zone.
Australia has to balance relations with the US – a strong diplomatic and military ally – and China – its largest trade partner. While there is legislation to reduce foreign influence in domestic politics, Canberra is not looking to design policies aligning with those of the US that would establish China as a strategic competitor.
The ADF is expected to utilise its intelligence to keep Chinese interference at bay in the immediate future. In the medium run, it is likely that Australia will develop laws to separate politics from economics, as demonstrated by the government’s indication towards increasing defence and cybersecurity expenditure.
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