Statement - Australian Joint Task Group transit in South China Sea
24 July 2020
An Australian Defence Force Joint Task Group (HMA Ships Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius) transited the South China Sea independently from 14-18 July, including near the Spratly Islands, en route to Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC.
There was no confrontation. All interactions with foreign warships throughout the deployment were conducted in a safe and professional manner, as we would expect in response to vessels operating in international waters in accordance with international law. There was routine and professional naval communications.
The Joint Task Group’s transit in the South China Sea occurred in international waters in accordance with freedom of navigation rights under international law.