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(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

China’s rambunctious party tabloid Global Times has long branded Australia a "loyal US attack dog" barking away at China.

And yet the curious thing about the peak US-Australia strategic meeting of the year, that concluded in Washington last week, is how little news came out of it. Barely a yap.

There were statements aplenty. Ahead of the annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne issued a formal statement to the UN outlining Australia’s position on China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Mainstream media leaped on the statement as signalling a reversal of Australia’s long-standing policy of not taking sides over competing sovereignty claims in the region. The ABC said the move was ‘likely to infuriate Beijing.’