Chinese ships set to monitor military drills off coast

Defence drills off the coast of Australia are expected to draw the attention of the Chinese military.

Defence drills off the coast of Australia are expected to draw the attention of the Chinese military. Photo: AAP

Chinese spy ships will be closely watching military exercises off the coast of Australia, as tens of thousands of troops prepare for the war games.

More than 30,000 defence personnel from 13 countries will take part in Talisman Sabre, which will formally begin in Sydney on Friday.

Once originally involving Australia and the US, the biennial exercises have expanded to include military from nations including Japan and South Korea.

It’s expected vessels from China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy will head towards Australia while the military exercises take place.

Talisman Sabre director Brigadier Damien Hill said the Chinese ships would be free to come into Australia’s exclusive economic zone.

“We monitor our borders very carefully and that includes nations such as the PLA operating — and as long as they do so in accordance with international law there will be no issues from us,” he told the ABC.

The exercises have already hit a snag, with live firing drills that were to take place in Jervis Bay off the NSW south coast delayed due to bad weather.

Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong will meet their American counterparts on the sidelines of Talisman Sabre next week, as part of the annual AUSMIN summit.

The ministers will travel to north Queensland next week to watch some of the exercises.

Talisman Sabre will be officially opened at Sydney’s Garden Island naval base, with manoeuvres taking place in NSW, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


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