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Watch: China joins largest Australian military exercise

Australia's navy welcomed China's inclusion in military exercises off the country's north coast on Friday, as 27 nations converged on strategic waters north of Darwin for naval exercises. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Canberra ACT, Australia Aug 31, 2018, 02.34 PM (IST)

Australia's navy welcomed China's inclusion in military exercises off the country's north coast on Friday as 27 nations converged on strategic waters north of Darwin for naval exercises.

The naval exercises are being hosted by Australia and include its major ally the United States, which expelled China in May from its military training around Hawaii. Japan, South Korea, and India are also part of the drills, called Kakadu 2018.

Ties between Australia and China had hit a low after Canberra passed laws aimed at thwarting Chinese influence in domestic affairs and also over China's assertiveness in the South China Sea. But Australia stuck with an invitation it issued China last September, a sign analysts said hinted at a thawing in relations.

KA 2018 will be the largest sea and air exercise in recent years in Australia, involving 24 ships and submarines, 21 aircraft and more than 3,000 personnel.

The drills will wrap up on September 14.

Story highlights

Ties between Australia and China had hit a low after Canberra passed laws aimed at thwarting Chinese influence