The South China Sea dispute coupled with the US-China Trade war could escalate in a war-like scenario between the US and China. The US will be asking Australia to step up efforts and presence in the disputed South China Sea to counter China’s growing grasp. The foreign affairs minister and the defence minister of Australia will be in California next week to discuss upon the South China Sea.
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As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, the US will ask Australia to push for larger efforts to confront Chinese influence in the international waters. The top Asia official at Pentagon said that the US was expecting the Chinese armed forces to show greater assertiveness in their claims on the South China Sea. He further said that the US is planning to increase the costs for China as China continues to militarise the artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.
Both the US and Australia share concerns over China’s intensification of its military presence in the South China Sea. On July 23 and 24, talks between the two nations will be held in California during the annual AUSMIN consultations. Beijing seems to have gone way too ahead in its claim upon the neighbours and has created new military bases on the artificial islands. This raises serious concerns over the access of other nations to the international waters.
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An Australian scholar last week stated that the US Navy must embrace for even bigger challenges posed by the Chinese in the coming year. China might go ahead and declare the South China Sea as an exclusion zone hence testing the patience of the US.
Will Australia agree to what the US seeks from it? Well, this remains to be seen and is subject to the comfort zone of Australia. While the US and Australia both are for free and open Indo-Pacific, Australia might just agree to counter China.
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