The foreign minister has remained tight-lipped over a thinly-veiled swipe against China made by the prime minister during his trip to Vietnam.
Without naming China directly during his speech in Hanoi, Scott Morrison said states in the region should be aware of coercion.
"There are a number of countries engaged in the region ... I will not talk about every country's actions," Marise Payne told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.
"It is in our interest to pursue stability, to pursue nations' sovereignty and rights, and that is what we pursue."
Mr Morrison said tensions in the South China Sea kept him up at night, while the US-China trade war also showed no sign of abating.
Senator Payne encouraged Washington and Beijing to negotiate an exit to their tit-for-tat trade spat.
"Sitting down and trying to determine a path through is important not just for the US and China but indeed for the world," she said.
Australian Associated Press