Marise Payne has made her first big steps in the Defence Minister shoes as the Federal Government delivered the Defence White Paper on Thursday, but not without disappointing our largest trade partner.
While the $50 billion submarine expenditure has many commentators up in arms, the comments about the South China Sea and East China Sea have left China angry.
Speaking on The 7:30 Report on Thursday night the Defence Minister said the government are aware "this is a point of difference between us and China".
"But importantly, as part of our defence relationship, we work with the PLA Navy, with the PLA itself," Minister Payne told Leigh Sales.
"We have a strong defence relationship [with China] but we do have a point of difference in this regard and we are certainly not going to take a backward step in articulating our position."
A spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the country was "dissatisfied" with the "negative" remarks about the South China Sea and East China Sea.
The Defence White Paper said the government was concerned over countries claiming land in the international waters which could potentially raise tensions in the region.
"Australia opposes the use of artificial structures in the South China Sea for military purposes. Australia also opposes the assertion of associated territorial claims and maritime rights which are not in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," the paper stated.
China has been building military facilities on reefs throughout the South China Sea and East China Sea which has prompted the U.S to increase "freedom of navigation" operations in the area, asking for "valuable" support from the Royal Australian Navy.Suggest a correction