THE Australia-US alliance has never been more important, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne said during her Top End visit on Tuesday.
Senator Payne, who was in Darwin with top US and Australian military brass, said the presence of the US Marine task force in Darwin represented a significant opportunity.
Questioned on China’s island expansion in the South China Sea, Senator Payne said Australia has been very clear about its position.
“We have encouraged all claimants – and it is important to remember there are multiple claimants – to resolve those issues peacefully in accordance with international law and according to the rules based global order,” Senator Payne said.
“We demonstrate that by our engagements in terms of freedom of navigation and freedom of over flight.
“The United States demonstrates its position according to its own approach.