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Australia reaffirms American alliance but resists push for further exercises in South China Sea

Australia has resisted the United States’ push for more assertive freedom of navigation exercises in the disputed waters in the South China Sea at high-level talks in Washington.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds flew to the US earlier this week to attend the annual AUSMIN talks with their American counterparts.

The talks focused heavily on China, with both countries condemning Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong and vowing to work together to counter state-sponsored disinformation campaigns.

The two countries have signed a new “statement of principles” to further expand defence ties and have also agreed to significantly ramp up health and development cooperation.

But Australia still appears to be resisting a push from the United States to conduct more assertive freedom-of-navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

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