The Defence Force says it is keeping a close eye on a Chinese warship heading into Australian waters allegedly to spy on scheduled war games later this month.

The presence of China warships spying in Australian waters is becoming increasingly regular, says director of a Sydney University-based research centre dedicated to American foreign policy, Ashley Townshend.

He told it is the “new normal” in the Indo-Pacific region and a sign of the changing strategic order.

“As China’s navy grows more powerful and picks-up the pace of operations far away from the mainland, its warships are becoming an everyday sight right across the region,” the director of foreign policy and defence at United States Studies Centre said.