The Australian government is considering a trade-war with China over the controversial South China Sea ruling.
The ABC’s AM program has learnt that senior ministers have been meeting with Chinese officials in China to discuss the issue.
The Chinese government’s defence ministry has told the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that it would “fully support” a Chinese military response to any Australian military action in the disputed region.
The ADF has not yet confirmed what response it is planning.
China has been pressing for the UN to block a tribunal ruling on the South China Seas.
In January, it issued a statement saying it was not a sovereign state and that any international law violation would be “immediately and thoroughly investigated”.
It also said that any attempt to take any action against it would be considered a “serious provocation”.
China’s Foreign Ministry said it had not been contacted by the ADF and that it was considering all possible options.
China is currently embroiled in a diplomatic row with Australia over the South Chinese Sea.
Last month, Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, announced that she would visit China to seek a better understanding of the South East Asian dispute.
She said the country was committed to “working with all parties” to address the issues raised.
She told the ABC’s 7.30 program that Australia had already “set the template” for what would be a “very comprehensive response”.
China has not confirmed what it might do in response to the Australian action, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has repeatedly urged Australia to take a “constructive” approach to the dispute.
Ms Bishop has previously said Australia should respect the “historic and historic rights of the two countries and not interfere in their internal affairs”.
The ADf’s statement said China had not yet made a formal statement.
“The ADF is actively conducting regular meetings with relevant parties, including the Chinese side and has taken into account the relevant situation in the South Sea in order to develop the relevant military capabilities,” it said.
It said that while it was “not possible to provide any further details” about the meeting, China had already been “actively conducting regular talks with relevant stakeholders” and “has taken into consideration the relevant circumstances”.
The statement said Australia would continue to seek to maintain “the highest level of security” and that “in particular to avoid unnecessary risks to peace and stability in the region”.
A number of senior Chinese officials have spoken publicly in support of the Australian Government, saying it should “act in the right manner” in the dispute, and that China had “good ties” with Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said Australia is committed to maintaining “peace and stability” in Asia.
In February, the ADf said it was working with the US and other countries to determine the “proportionality” of any response to China’s actions.
The statement from China’s Defence Ministry said “it would fully support” the ADFS response to Australian military activity.
The US has said it has “grave concerns” about China’s move to conduct military exercises in the Spratlys, which are a key waterway.