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Beijing attempts to change global thinking on South China Sea, says report

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Beijing attempts to change global thinking on South China Sea, says report

"In 2019 we conducted the greatest number of freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea in the 40-year history of the FONOPS program, and we will keep up the pace this year", he said.

Royal Australian Navy warships have joined United States and Japanese vessels in military exercises.

It is not known precisely where the Chinese military interacted with the Australian joint task group, but Defence confirmed the warships sailed near the disputed Spratly Islands last week.

An Australian Joint Task Group, led by HMAS Canberra, has joined the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and a Japanese destroyer for a three navy exercise in the Philippine Sea.

'Australia is committed to a secure, open, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise aimed to increase interoperability between the Australian, American, and Japnese navies, but came amid increasing tensions with China.

The Australian government played down the incident - believed to have occurred last week - saying on Thursday that "unplanned interactions with foreign warships throughout the deployment were conducted in a safe and professional manner".

He made the remarks during his interaction with London-based think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies amid China's renewed military assertiveness in eastern Ladakh as well as in the South China Sea.

However, the USA has now stepped up its challenge on China's territorial claims.

Describing the Chinese military's aggressive activities in the region as "destabilising", US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on Tuesday said America was "very closely" monitoring the situation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control.

Minh said Vietnam is willing to work with China to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and promote maritime cooperation and common development.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the U.S. statement on the South China Sea "irresponsible". In the same year, 64 per cent of China's maritime trade passed through the waterway. The inflammatory Global Times, controlled by China's Communist Party, wrote earlier this month that the "South China Sea is fully within the grasp of the Chinese People's Liberation Army", and "any U.S. aircraft carrier movement in the region is exclusively at the pleasure of the PLA".

The sea - a crucial passage for a significant portion of the world's commercial shipping - is bordered by Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

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