South China Sea
Beijing Ramps up Challenges to Australian Patrols

Beijing has increased its challenges to Australian fighter jets in the South China Sea lately, even as Australia’s own “surveillance patrol flights” have ticked up a tad, the Sydney Morning Herald reports (h/t the Diplomat):

The challenges would come in the form of radio broadcasts warning the Australian planes that they were close to Chinese territory and should move away. He [Air Marshal Leo Davies] stressed this was normal practice by many countries and said the nature of the challenges had not escalated.

But he said “nearly all” flight were now challenged – something that had not happened in the past.

Australia officially takes a neutral stance in the South China Sea, and it’s declined to stand beside the U.S.-led coalition challenging China’s artificial islands. So it’s worth watching how Canberra handles these conflicts in the South China Sea going forward.

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