Saturday, May 25, 2024

China accuses Australia of spying on navy as Pacific tensions explode

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China has accused Australia of using a helicopter to spy on its navy as tensions between the two nations surge.

On Saturday, a Chinese fighter jet dropped flares in the flight path of an ADF Seahawk ship near HMAS Hobart in the Yellow Sea.

China’s National Defense Ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang blamed Australia, saying: “The operations of the Chinese side are legitimate, reasonable, professional and safe, and are fully in line with the international law and international practice.”

Xiaogang said China’s Navy was training in the region when the ADF sent a helicopter to conduct “close-in reconnaissance”.

He added: “We urge the Australian side to truly respect China’s sovereignty and security concerns, cease spreading false narratives, strictly constrain the operations of its naval and air forces, stop all dangerous provocations, and avoid undermining the overall relationship between the two countries and the two militaries.”

READ MORE: China tensions explode after plane ‘fires flares’ intercepting ally’s helicopter

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said the Australian aircraft had “deliberately” endangered China’s security bit said nothing of a reconnaissance mission.

Sky News Australia political editor Andrew Clennell said there was “no attempt” by the Australian government to speak to Beijing about the incident.

He said: “The contact that has occurred has been between the defence forces, defence official to defense official, and the Foreign Affairs Department to Foreign Affairs Department.”

“The stance of the Albanese government at the moment is now to await and form a formal response to the Chinese government after which there might be that Ministerial representation.

“But so far, Penny Wong and Richard Marles, as well as Anthony Albanese, as we had assumed, have not picked up the phone or attempted to organise a phone call with the Chinese government.”

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has said the issue has been raised with China “at every level.”

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