China joins Australia-led maritime drill

Royal Australian Navy sailors stand with officers from the Chinese Navy aboard the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle during Exercise Kakadu being conducted off the coast of Darwin, on Sept 8, 2018.
Royal Australian Navy sailors stand with officers from the Chinese Navy aboard the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle during Exercise Kakadu being conducted off the coast of Darwin, on Sept 8, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

For the first time, China is participating in Australia's largest maritime exercise which is being held off the northern port of Darwin.

More than 3,000 personnel from 27 countries across the Indo-Pacific region are taking part in Exercise Kakadu. The training will enable them to establish familiarity which helps to prevent conflict on the high seas and improve coordination in disaster relief efforts.

Integrating the People's Liberation Army Navy into the biennial training with American, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian forces gives China an opportunity to improve its working relationship with those countries, which has been tense at times.

The joint military exercise will continue until Saturday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'China joins Australia-led maritime drill'. Print Edition | Subscribe