Australia to join Chinese navy exercises in South China Sea

SYDNEY - Two Australian warships will hold exercises with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea next week, Australia's defense minister said on Thursday, just days after a US navy patrol near a man-made Chinese island in the disputed waters angered Beijing.
The HMAS Stuart and HMAS Arunta will visit China's main South China Sea base of Zhanjiang in the southern province of Guangdong ahead of drills scheduled for early next week, Marise Payne said.
"The Royal Australian Navy has a long history of engagement with regional navies and regularly conducts port visits and exercises - including in China," Payne said.
China rebuked Washington for sending a US guided-missile destroyer close to Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago on Tuesday, saying it had tracked and warned the USS Lassen and called in the American ambassador to protest.