Australia accuses China of intimidation

Australia accuses China of intimidation

aAustralia has accused the Chinese Navy of endangering the lives of Australian soldiers on board a reconnaissance aircraft by using lasers. Prime Minister Scott Morrison Sunday talked about “threatening actions” and “reckless and irresponsible behavior that shouldn’t have happened”.

Frederick Boges

Political correspondent for China, North Korea and Mongolia.

A Chinese guided missile destroyer aimed a laser at an Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft in the Arafura Sea off the Australian coast on Thursday, according to the Defense Ministry in Canberra. Morrison said blinding the pilot could have made the plane maneuver and put the crew in danger.

“Serious Security Incident”

He announced that he would take up the matter through “diplomatic and military channels”. Beijing should explain why “a naval ship in Australia’s exclusive economic zone is taking such action”. There is no justification for the Chinese approach. The Australian Defense Ministry also spoke of a “serious security incident”. Initially there was no response from Beijing.

Tensions between Australia and China have escalated since Canberra signed the AUKUS security agreement with the US and UK in September. The commander of the US Air Force in the Pacific, General Kenneth Wilsbach, recently expressed concern that China might make some provocative efforts in the Indo-Pacific “to see how the international community reacts.”

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