September 10, 2018 – China’s involvement in multinational war games in Australian waters has been praised by senior Royal Australian Navy officers.
Navy’s frigate Huangshan from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is one of the 21 warships taking part in Exercise Kakadu, a training exercise involving 3,000 personnel from 27 nations.
It marks the first time that the PLA Navy has participated in the exercise, an initiative that has been praised by other participants.
“You know, the more we work together, the more we’ll understand each other and the more we’ll respect each other,” Ivan Ingham, the Royal Australian Navy’s Commodore of Warfare, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday.
“This has shown that we can cooperate together in a really positive and meaningful way.”
Ingham on Sunday oversaw a large-scale exercise that saw the vessels perform high-speed maneuvers while being “attacked” by “enemy aircraft.”
Two Chinese officers joined Ingham on the HMAS Newcastle where they impressed their Australian colleagues.
“They were just as excited as we are, they knew more about Darwin and everything about it than I did,” Able Seaman Timothy Quirk said, expressing optimism that the PLA Navy would be invited to future exercises.
Other nations participating in Exercise Kakadu include the United States, Canada, India, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand.
Exercise Kakadu was officially launched on Sept. 1 with Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead calling for greater maritime cooperation between countries.
“While there may be great diversity in our political and economic institutions, as mariners with expansive experience and knowledge of our oceans, we really do understand the sentiment that ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ — we thrive together or we fail together,” Jonathan Mead said.