CANBERRA, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Australia will deploy a guided- missile frigate, HMAS Sydney, to join the U.S. 7th Fleet in Japan at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula and in the South China Sea, according to The Australian on Friday.
The Australian said the warship will be "embedded" with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group operating out of Yokosuka, but the Department of Defense didn't confirm the news so far.
HMAS Sydney is an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate launched in 1980. It was sent to the Persian Gulf five times in support of U.S. operations during the Gulf War, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to the report, this mission has been long-planned to increase Australian Navy's experience at providing air defense for a fleet, in preparation for the arrival of the Navy's two massive landing ships and three air warfare destroyers.
"Australia has made it clear we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Republic of Korea, also with Japan," the report quoted Defense Minister Stephen Smith as saying.
And Peter Jennings, a former senior Defense official who now heads the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, said the deployment was significant. "It does reflect a return to the type of co-operation that used to happen in the 1980s and 90s when we exercised more frequently with the Americans."