The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Ballarat completed a range of maritime exercises with People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel Huangshan following a successful visit to the People’s Republic of China.
The Passage Exercise (PASSEX), which was conducted after Ballarat departed the Zhanjiang port, included surface target firing, a search and rescue exercise, communication exercises and a formation activity with aerial photography.
The PLAN and the RAN conduct regular exercises in an effort to enhance mutual understanding, facilitate transparency and build trust.
Australia’s Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said the frigate’s activities show the valued working relationship between the two navies.
"This exercise and other Australian Defence Force activities with China continue to enhance our mutual understanding and build trust between our two nations," VADM Johnston said.
"We will continue to seek out further opportunities for maritime engagement with the PLAN in supporting our shared objectives for regional stability."
Ballarat is currently on a south-east Asian deployment with further bilateral exercises planned with regional nations, as well as the multilateral Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD, a Five Power Defence Arrangements activity between Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The joint exercise comes at a time when Australia, the US and other allies are looking to China to deter North Korea from escalating military tensions with the US.