China has stepped up its surveillance of strategic sea routes in the
western Pacific only weeks after Australia announced a major upgrade of
its northern air defenses that will help the United States to project
more force into the region, including in the South China Sea.
Australia’s Defense Department confirmed it had been tracking a
Chinese oceanographic ship for the past two months as it conducted
deepwater surveys on a course from eastern China to the coast of Western
The route, which took the vessel through the Java Sea in the
Indonesian archipelago to waters near the Australian territory of
Christmas Island, is used regularly by Australian submarines transiting
to the South China Sea.
“Beijing is keen to know as much a...