France and Australia will conduct joint naval exercises in the South China Sea as part of a commitment to freedom of navigation in the region.
SBS reports that after China built man-made islands in the sea and militarised them, Australia has been pushing for freedom of navigation conventions to keep applying despite rising tensions.
The French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly met Defence Minister Christopher Pyne yesterday and they discussed the future of Franco-Australian naval co-operation.
"Both Australia and France share a common view, which is that the South China Sea is international waters and that we are entitled to navigate as we see fit," Mr Pyne told reporters on Monday.
Mr Pyne said Australia had increased its naval exercises with other countries in the South China Sea in recent times.
"We are looking forward to doing so with France in coming years, in terms of a group working together in one particular formation that is multi-flagged," he said.
"We reserve the right to operate in the South China Sea with other nations completely peacefully, and we don't see any reason why any country should see that as a particular threat to their sovereignty."
The Conservative Party's NSW Senate candidate Sophie York has questioned the actions of China, not only in international waters, but here in Australia too.
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