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Australian ship exercises with Chinese frigate for first time


HMAS Warramunga with Chinese Navy's Louyang frigate off the coast of China. An Australian MoD photo

BEIJING (BNS): Two frigates from Australia and China have conducted a live-firing drill off the Shandon Peninsular in South China Sea for the first time.

Royal Australian Navy’s frigate HMAS Warramunga, which is in China to take part in a week-long naval drill, has successfully completed the first-ever live-firing exercise with Chinese naval frigate Louyang.

This is the first time that a Western ship has participated in such an exercise conducted by China's People’s Liberation Army-Navy, the Australian MoD said.

“While we are used to operating with other nations from our region, this is the first time we have undertaken such a complex exercise with the Chinese and we are very much looking forward to this experience,” HMAS Warramunga's Commanding Officer, Commander Bruce Legge said.

HMAS Warramunga had taken part in the just-concluded biennial multi-nation naval exercise ‘Kakadu’ in which the navies of Thailand, Singapore and Japan were also involved.

The frigate’s participation with the Chinese Navy is “significant,” Australia said.

The two navies plan to conduct joint helicopter operations, search and rescue drills, communications exercise and personnel exchanges in the later phase of the war game.

HMAS Warramunga will spend several days alongside and exercising in the the southern port city of Qingdoa before transiting to Zhanjiang and then home to HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

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