Australian Navy ships touring Southeast Asia call in Vietnam – benarnews
Three Australian Navy ships arrived at Cam Ranh port in central Vietnam on Monday as part of Canberra’s efforts to build relationships with partners in Southeast Asia, state media reported. Vietnamese.
The deployment came as the Australian Foreign Office sought to reassure the region that a new security pact with the UK and US, unveiled last week, would not rule out the Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and would not fuel the spread of nuclear weapons.
The Australian Maritime Task Group arrived in the Vietnamese port for a four-day layover after visiting Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It included the amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra, the frigate HMSA Anzac and the supply ship HMAS Sirius.
According to Vietnamese People’s Army spokesman Quan Doi Nhan Dan, Australian ships and their Vietnamese partners “will carry out activities to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two navies.”
We do not know what activities will be organized.
Vietnam is suffering from a wave of COVID-19 infections and a welcoming ceremony by Vietnamese Naval Zone 4 for Australian ships has taken place virtually.
Days earlier, the Australian government announced that the country’s navy would acquire at least eight nuclear-powered submarines as part of the new trilateral security partnership with the UK and US, known as AUKUS.
The pact is widely seen as a deterrent against China’s growing military influence in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the South China Sea where China’s comprehensive claims are contested by neighboring countries, including the Vietnam.
China denounced the pact. Southeast Asian countries have reacted with caution and a little bit of caution. Malaysia and Indonesia have raised concerns that this could spark an arms race in the region.
Australian Ambassador to ASEAN Will Nankervis spoke out against the concerns on Monday.
“Although these submarines are nuclear powered, they will not carry nuclear weapons. Australia is not and will not be looking for such weapons. We are also not seeking to establish a civilian nuclear capability, ”he said in a statement.
Nankervis said Australia “is a strong supporter of a rules-based maritime order”.
“We support that all countries can exercise their rights and freedoms in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he said. The statement also described Australia as “a committed supporter of the centrality of ASEAN”.
The Australian Navy’s swing in the region, dubbed Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2021, began in late August to “offer Australia the opportunity to engage with Southeast Asian partners beyond the business. traditional military “, according to the Australian Department of Defense.
Since 2017, Indo-Pacific Endeavor has been an annual event aimed at ‘strengthening Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces’, but it did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic .
Last week, the two Australian Navy ships also conducted a three-day joint exercise in the South China Sea with USCGC Munro. The joint engagement included “joint operations, professional exchanges and multi-unit maneuvers at sea,” according to the US Coast Guard.