Great power competition? Or a schoolyard tiff? Beijing has lashed out at Australia for joining its allies in war games off Japan, threatening “its forces will be among the first to be hit”. “Australia must not think it can hide from China if it provokes,” Song Zhongping, a Communist Party military commentator, told the Global Times.
Australia last week joined Japan, the United States and France in what has been described as their “first ever” joint military exercise. Named joint training exercise Jeanne d’Arc 21 (ARC21 for short), the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta joined French, Japanese and US warships in practising an amphibious assault, urban warfare and anti-aircraft defence between May 11 and 17. Beijing declared the exercise to be so “insignificant” it didn’t need to react.