Australia Seeks to Reignite Annual Defense Talks with China to Mitigate Military Misunderstandings


SYDNEY, June 21 (Reuters) – Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles announced on Friday that Australia aims to revive annual defense dialogues with China’s chief of defence. The initiative, discussed with Chinese Premier Li Qiang this week, seeks to reduce misunderstandings and avoid military incidents between the two nations.

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Following a meeting with Premier Li in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese indicated on Monday that both countries would work on improving military communication to prevent conflicts, though specifics were not disclosed.

Marles emphasized in a Friday radio interview that Australia seeks to resume the annual meetings between the defence chiefs and defence department secretaries of both nations. Although some level of defense dialogue has been reestablished after a period of strained relations, it has not returned to the robust engagement seen a decade ago, when regular meetings occurred.

“While this doesn’t resolve the fundamental issues between us, it does enhance our mutual understanding of behaviors in certain circumstances,” Marles explained on ABC radio, noting that this could “prevent unnecessary escalations.”

In recent incidents, a Chinese air force jet released flares near an Australian defense helicopter over the Yellow Sea, which Australia deemed dangerous. China described it as a warning against approaching its airspace. Additionally, in November, Australia reported that a Chinese naval vessel injured some of its divers in Japanese waters using sonar.

Liu Jianchao, head of the international department of the Chinese Communist Party, commented during a November visit to Australia that Australian naval movements in the South China Sea and East China Sea seemed aimed at containing China, a claim Australia denied.

Given that two-thirds of Australian trade passes through the South China Sea, Australia has participated in joint exercises with the Philippines, U.S., and Japan in the region.

Marles stated that annual meetings between defence chiefs would facilitate timely communication during conflicts and set clear expectations for military personnel.

“We are looking for faster progress on this matter,” Marles added. “The recent meeting with Premier Li has been crucial in advancing these discussions.”

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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