Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned the incident where a Chinese fighter plane forced its plane while on routine surveillance into a dangerous maneuver over the South China Sea.
Royal Australian Air Force
On May 26, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) “P-8 maritime surveillance plane was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft during a routine maritime surveillance activity in international airspace in the South China Sea region,” the Australian Department of Defence told in a report.
Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles said
Addressing the presser, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told, “What occurred was that the J-16 aircraft flew very close to the side of the P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft,” Marles told. “In flying close to the side, it released flares, the J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance. At that time, it then removed a bundle of chaff that contains small amounts of aluminum, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very scary.”
Chinese plan showed unprofessional behavior
But this is not the first time when the Chinese plan showed unprofessional behavior. Last week, Canada accused Chinese air force pilots of unprofessional and risky behavior during encounters with Canadian planes in international airspace, while Ottawa was enforcing UN sanctions against North Korea, reportedly in the East China Sea, Taipei times reported.
Donald Rothwell, a professor of international law at Australian National University, over this incident told, “The P-8 could have been flying adjacent to a Chinese claimed artificial island over which Australia does not recognize any Chinese entitlement to a territorial sea and, as such, the freedom of overflight would involve. China would counter by saying this is a place where they can assert a legitimate territorial sea and Australian aircraft cannot enter. So the matter could be a simple issue of an Australian versus a Chinese interpretation of the relevant airspace.”
Meanwhile, Euan Graham, a maritime security expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore thinks that China might be testing the resolve of US allies. He further said that Beijing was “making life difficult for unarmed surveillance aircraft both from Canada and Australia” but was “not reacting in the same way to US aircraft when they are doing their surveillance operations.”
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Graham further told the actions sent “a very clear message that China doesn’t want foreign militaries operating on, under or above the waters around its coastline, especially the waters that it claims sovereignty over in the South China Sea.”
Australian military aircraft have visited
Over this incident, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister on Monday evening told that Beijing would not allow any country to violate China’s sovereignty and security, and harm peace and stability in the South China Sea by using “freedom of navigation” as an excuse.
A separate editorial cited “data” stated, “that from February 24 to March 11, Australian military aircraft have visited the East China Sea north of the island of Taiwan six times this year to conduct close-in reconnaissance activities.”
Even the Chinese-state-run ‘Global Times’ editorial section told, “No one can act as Washington’s ‘goon’ while making a fortune from China.
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