Australia and South China Sea FONOPs

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Carl Thayer* looks at Australia’s FONOP role

Q1. We have not heard any Australian senior officials ruling out joining U.S. freedom of navigation operational patrols (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. Is there any such news?

ANSWER: It is highly unlikely that an Australian senior official or minister would explicitly rule out in pubic remarks that Australia would not join the United States in a freedom of navigation operational patrol. It would not be in Australia’s interest to categorically rule out a joint FONOP with the U.S. because circumstances could change in the future.

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