Australia agrees to join US-led alliance of democracies but shies from joining its South China Sea freedom of navigation patrols.
by Alan Boyd July 29, 2020
„SYDNEY — Australia has agreed to support US efforts to forge an alliance of democratic nations to counter China’s geopolitical ambitions but will not join US-led freedom of navigation naval flotillas in the volatile South China Sea.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne reaffirmed Canberra’s commitment to the US-Australian pact after talks in Washington while insisting it would also pursue policies independent of both the US and close trade ally China.
“We have a demonstrable track record of making decisions in our own national interest. We don’t agree on everything — that’s part of a respectful relationship,” the minister told a press briefing today (July 29).
Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds spoke after two days of talks with their US counterparts Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper during AUSMIN, an annual series of ministerial meetings on security cooperation.
It was one of the few face-to-face summits that have been held since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Australian ministers and their entire entourages will have to go into self-isolation for 14 days upon their return from the US.“ (…)