Australia has been quick to rule out joint patrols in the South China Sea with Indonesia

Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi (R) talks with her Australian counterpart Julie Bishop during the India Ocean Rim Association (IORA) meetings in Jakarta. Photo: Adek Berry/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has confirmed that there will not be joint patrols with Indonesia in the South China Sea, despite reports last week suggesting the idea was on the table.

While in Jakarta for the Indian Ocean Rim Association summit Bishop said president Jokowi had not discussed joint exercises between Australia and Indonesia, rather he was talking about cooperation in maintaining freedom of passage in the disputed region where China has been aggressively pushing its sovereignty.

“Indonesia and Australia have a deep interest in unimpeded trade through these waters and through the skies of the South China Sea area,” she said.

“He was talking about cooperating to ensure there was freedom of overflight and navigation.”

Turnbull alluded to the tensions in the region saying the two countries have “a vested interest in peace and stability in our region’s seas and oceans” during Jokowi’s recent visit to Australia, but did not mention patrols.

“We both strongly encourage countries in our region to resolve disputes in accordance with international law which is the foundation for stability and prosperity.”

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