3-day Indo-Pacific conference begins in Sydney, around 40 nations, over 700 defense companies participating
Australia did not invite China or Russia to a major international naval conference that began on Tuesday in Sydney, local media reported.
This is the first time the biannual three-day event is taking place in the country since the outbreak of COVID-19. Forty nations and over 700 defense companies from around the world are attending.
Canberra decided not to invite naval representatives of either China or Russia to the Indo-Pacific conference due to “deteriorating relations,” ABC News reported.
Chinese naval officials attended the Sea Power conference in 2019.
However, ties between Beijing and Canberra have since nosedived since 2020 after Australia joined Western allies in seeking a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, Canberra openly supports Kyiv in the Russia-Ukraine war and has imposed sanctions on Moscow.
The Australian Royal Navy said in a statement that the three-day conference would involve discussions with friends and like-minded partners, the defense industry, and academia on issues that are related to maritime security and are of strategic importance.
“It’s great to see so many navies and defence industry businesses have been able to attend Indo Pacific 2022, which is the first maritime conference of this scale in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan in a media release.
“Nothing can beat face-to-face engagement and the relationships it forges,” Noonan added.