Following ‘Quad’ talks, the US, Japan, and Australia conduct naval exercises in South China Sea

US-Japan-Australia trilateral exercises

According to Reuters, the United States’ Navy Seventh Fleet has said that the United States, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, 19 October 2020. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, the Seventh Fleet is reported as having said in a statement.

US-Japan-India-Australia ‘Exercise Malabar’

Reuters reported previously that India has invited Australia, who has only once previously participated in 2007, to join the 2020 US-India-Japan Exercise Malabar , and published a ‘Factbox’ titled ‘What is the Malabar exercise, and why is it significant‘?

Last week Reuters quoted Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds as saying that the Malabar drills were a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force, and that they showcased “the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.”

Quad talks held in Tokyo

The trilateral exercises follow the ‘Quad’ talks held in Tokyo on 6 October 2020 – talks involving India, Japan, Australia and the US which Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, described as  “another important step forward for this grouping of Indo-Pacific democracies”. 

Reporting and analysis following these talks included: