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Chinese military holds first exercise near Australia: Report


A file photo.

MELBOURNE (PTI): Australian military has monitored an unprecedented naval exercise involving three Chinese warships in international waters which will impact security policies of Australia and its neighbours like Indonesia and India, according to a media report.

"The unusual naval exercise late last week is considered to have been a deliberate and provocative move by the Chinese that will send a clear message to the region," an ABC News report said.

For the first time, the Chinese navy sent warships sailing through the Sunda Strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra, the report said.

The ships travelled along the southern edge of Java, close to Christmas Island, and then through the Lombok Strait between Lombok and Bali, it said.

"The move is considered to be an unprecedented show of military might by the Chinese and will have a significant impact on security and strategic policy settings for Australia and our regional neighbours, particularly Indonesia and India," the report said.

Analysts believe that by sending ships through the region in such a fashion, China is making it clear that it now considers the Indian Ocean a strategic priority.

They believe it signals that China will deploy its military to protect its interests in the region if needed, the report said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told Australia Network that "China is an emerging power in our region and globally. These exercises are taking place in international waters and Australia conducts similar exercises in international waters."

"The Chinese navy is growing commensurate with the increasing size and strength of the Chinese economy and its place in the region, its place in the globe. So, the fact that the Chinese navy's conducting exercises in international waters is not a matter that I would raise with my counterpart because, as I say, Australia does similarly," Bishop said.

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China  Navy  Warship  Exercise  Australia  

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