Australian Navy joins China for maritime exercise

Today, the Anzac Class Guid­ed Mis­sile Frigate, HMAS Bal­larat, will begin a five-day ship vis­it to Shang­hai, Chi­na. Bal­larat will be docked at the north­ern end of Shanghai’s his­toric Bund from 17–21 May.

HMAS Bal­larat
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
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The vis­it will involve cul­tur­al exchanges and vis­its to sig­nif­i­cant icons in Shang­hai.

The exer­cise will involve a vari­ety of inter­ac­tive activ­i­ties includ­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions and res­cue exer­cis­es and joint manoeu­vres with the PLA-Navy on depar­ture from Shang­hai.

The ship’s com­mand­ing offi­cer Com­man­der Jonathan Ear­ley says his crew is ready for the chal­lenge. “We have recent­ly come from a long work up to achieve this mis­sion,” CMDR Ear­ley said, “so we are used to deal­ing with oth­er nations from our region but this is the first time we have exer­cised so intense­ly with the PLA-Navy.”

“This is diplo­ma­cy at its best,” CMDR Ear­ley said. “There is noth­ing more effec­tive than face to face con­tact to build trust and friend­ship between Navies and nations.”

HMAS Ballarat’s vis­it to Chi­na comes at a time when we are cel­e­brat­ing 40 years since the estab­lish­ment of diplo­mat­ic rela­tions between Aus­tralia and the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na, in Decem­ber 1972.

The vis­it points to the con­struc­tive and ben­e­fi­cial links between the mil­i­taries of our two coun­tries, and under­lines the val­ue both Chi­na and Aus­tralia place on the broad­er bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship.

Aus­tralia has con­duct­ed a senior-lev­el defence dia­logue with Chi­na for 14 years.

Aus­tralia looks for­ward to co-chair­ing the 15th annu­al Defence Strate­gic Dia­logue lat­er this year in Chi­na at the Chief of Defence Force lev­el. At this Dia­logue we will dis­cuss pro­pos­als to fur­ther deep­en our prac­ti­cal defence coop­er­a­tion.

Aus­tralia and Chi­na have enhanced bilat­er­al defence engage­ment in recent years to include work­ing lev­el exchanges, and prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion in the areas of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief exer­cis­es, mar­itime engage­ment and peace­keep­ing.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence, Aus­tralia