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A US Navy official says multinational military training in Australia is a sign of solidarity with China.

US Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro said on Friday that the start of a major multinational military training exercise in Australia sends a message to China that US allies are cooperating to defend their security and democratic values.

Talisman Saber began as a two-year joint exercise between the US and Australia in 2005, but this year has expanded to include 13 countries and more than 30,000 military personnel.

Del Toro and his Australian counterpart, Richard Marles, welcomed the ever-closer bilateral military ties as they began the exercise at a naval base in Sydney.

Del Toro said land, sea and air military platforms are becoming increasingly complex and allies need to work together to operate as a single task force.

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“The most important message that China can take from this exercise and everything our allies and partners do together is that we are deeply connected to the core values ​​that our many nations share together,” del Toro told reporters.

“We are actually ready to work together in defense of our national security interests and in defense of the core values ​​that we all share,” he added.

More than 800 military vehicles will cross a mobile wharf to be deployed in the Queensland state coastal town of Bowen during the two-week exercise, Marles said.

USS Canberra passes the Sydney Opera House as it arrives at Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East on July 18, 2023 in Sydney. (Dan Hambrechts/AAP Photo via AP)

“This will be the most important logistics exercise we will see between Australia and the United States in Australia since World War II,” Marles said.

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“All of this is actually building muscle memory, building comfort and familiarity between the defense forces of our two countries and obviously not only between Australia and the US but the other 11 countries that will be participating,” Marles added.

Del Toro and Marles were optimistic about progress on the so-called AUKUS deal, under which the US and UK would provide Australia with a fleet of submarines powered by US nuclear technology.

Closer military ties will be emphasized when the USS Canberra is commissioned in Sydney on Saturday. The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, built by Australian manufacturer Austell, will become the first US warship to operate in a foreign port.

The original USS Canberra was a cruiser launched in 1943, named after the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra which was torpedoed by the Japanese in 1942 while supporting the landing of US Marines in the Solomon Islands with the loss of 193 lives. The Australian warship was named for the Australian capital.

The Solomons are once again a security concern for the US and its allies over recent security deals the South Pacific nation has signed with Beijing.

Chinese spy ships have been shadowing Talisman Saber exercises since 2017.

A Chinese spy ship was contacted in the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeast coast on Thursday and is expected to move into the exercise area, Australian military Lt. Gen. Greg Bilton said.

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“They’ve done this for years. We’re well prepared for it,” Bilton said.

Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany are taking part in this year’s exercise, which ends on August 4. The Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are participating in the exercise as observers.

Source by [Fox News]



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