Three Australian warships are confronted by the Chinese military in ‘robust’ dispute in the South China Sea
Three Australian warships were confronted by China's military while sailing through the South China Sea earlier this month, it has been revealed.
The vessels - HMAS Anzac, HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba - were en route to Vietnam when challenged by the People's Liberation Army Navy.
It is thought the encounter occurred during drills in the area said to be the largest naval exercise ever performed by the communist state.
One official, speaking to ABC on condition of anonymity, said the exchanges between the Chinese and Australians were polite but 'robust'.
China has been increasingly spreading its influence across the South China Sea, the majority of which it claims as its own territory.
It currently has the world's largest armed forces, and has seen further investment in technology, equipment such as stealth fighters and troop carriers, and also training programmes.
The Defence Department would not discuss the encounter, but confirmed the movements of the three ships.
A spokesperson added: 'The Australian Defence Force has maintained a robust program of international engagement with countries in and around the South China Sea for decades.
'This includes bilateral and multilateral military exercises, port visits, maritime surveillance operations and ship transits.
'As they have done for many decades, Australian vessels and aircraft will continue to exercise rights under international law to freedom of navigation and overflight, including in the South China Sea.'
ouphrontis, Australia, Australia, 4 hours ago
Like the attempts at interventionism against Russia a century ago, Australia picks up the bourgeoisie stick of the supposed democratic capitalist nations and joins forces to poke a nation in the eye. I can almost smell a couple of gongs being manufactured in an attempt at justification by the toadies. From Korea, to Vietnam to Iraq, to Timor, to Afghanistan, the interventionist policy has proven to be nothing more than farcical. Grow up Oz and don't repeat the follies of yesteryear.