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Labor defends Australia’s right to travel through South China Sea unchallenged

Federal Labor says Australia has a right to travel through the South China Sea without being challenged by China’s military.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has issued a warning to China after a group of Australian warships were challenged by China’s navy.

Defence sources have revealed three Australian warships were confronted by the Chinese as they conducted naval exercises this month.

The Prime Minister has said, “We maintain and practice the right of freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the world… as is our perfect right in accordance with international law.”

Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles tells Chris Kenny the confrontation could have a huge impact.

“This is a huge national interest for us because it’s, in fact, the majority of our trade goes through the South China Sea.

“You realise how important this part of the ocean is in terms of an artery for Australia’s trade.”

Mr Marles has sought a brief on the incident amid claims the Australian ships deliberately sailed too close China’s navy ships.

Listen to the full interview below