What Happened: Australia will lend support to a US -led initiative to ensure safe passage for commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced August 20, The Japan Times reported.
The commitment to join the US comes after tensions simmered in the region over the seizure of an Iranian ship by Gibraltar, with the backing of the UK, that was believed to be heading to Syria in breach of UN sanctions.
"Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time-bound and it will be part of an worldwide mission, separate from any other matters in the region".
"The government has decided it's in Australia's national interests to work with our global partners to contribute to an worldwide maritime security mission ... in the Middle East".
Foremost among the areas to be patrolled is the Strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran, through which about one-fifth of the world's seaborne crude flows out of the Gulf.
Australia will send troops, planes and warships to help guard the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East.
"So it is a potential threat to our economy", Mr Morrison said.
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requested Australia join the mission during a visit to Australia earlier this month.
Australia's effort will aid the US -launched the campaign, dubbed Operation Sentinel, which seeks to ensure ships can exercise freedom of navigation through the strategic strait without restraint by hostile forces, a point touched on by Mr. Morrison.
"Freedom of navigation through global waters is a fundamental right of all states under worldwide law".
However, the prime minister made it clear the mission could be extended.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday morning that Australia's involvement will be "modest, meaningful and time limited", the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"No amount of foreign military presence can prevent insecurity in this region".
In July, Iran seized two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which marked a dramatic escalation in the worsening standoff in the Gulf.