Australian defense officials said they were tracking a Chinese surveillance ship that is expected to position itself just outside of its territorial waters to monitor military exercises between Australia and the United States.
Around 25,000 Australian and U.S. military personnel on board battleships equipped with strike jets will over the next month participate in bi-annual Talisman Sabre war games.
Australia and China are competing for influence in the South Pacific, a sparsely populated region that control vast swathes of resource rich oceans.
China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims on the waterway.