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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Australia to Continue Military Patrols in South China Sea

AP-3C OrionThe Australian government has asserted its right to fly military patrols over contested South China Sea islands claimed by Beijing, but said on Sunday it hadn’t had formal talks with the U.S. on naval missions as a direct challenge to Chinese muscle-flexing.

Australia’s Defense Minister Kevin Andrews, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal from Singapore, said Canberra had sent long-range maritime patrol aircraft over the South China Sea and Indian Ocean, and would continue to do so despite the potential for obstruction from China.

“We’ve been doing it for decades, we’re doing it currently…and we’ll continue to do it into the future,” Mr. Andrews said, in one of his first foreign press interviews since assuming responsibility for Australia’s military during a Cabinet shake-up in Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government last year.

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