The fighter then threw “a bundle of straw,” which included small pieces of aluminum. Part of that straw went into the engines of the surveillance plane.
“Obviously, this is very dangerous,” Marles said.
The defense minister said the crew responded professionally and returned the plane to the base and the entire crew was unharmed. He instructed the head of the Defense Forces and the Department to express their concern about the incident to the Chinese authorities, with special emphasis on the safety of the aircraft and the crew that had been endangered.
“P-8 activity is part of Australia’s maritime surveillance activity in the South China Sea for decades; other countries are doing the same,” Marles said.
“I also want to make it very clear that this incident will not deter Australia from continuing to engage in these activities, which are within our rights and international law, to ensure that there is freedom of navigation in the South China Sea because that is fundamental. interest of our nation ”.
Defense said Australia had been monitoring the region for decades and complied with international law, “exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace”.
The incident comes just three months after a Chinese Navy ship aimed a military-grade laser at another Australian surveillance aircraft in the Arafura Sea, between the Northern Territory and Papua.
The February incident endangered the lives of the plane’s crew, said Defense, which strongly condemned “unprofessional and unsafe military conduct.”
Then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he demanded answers from Beijing for the “act of intimidation”, but China’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that Australia was spreading false information “maliciously”.
This week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi ended his tour of the Pacific, ending in East Timor and Papua New Guinea after signing bilateral agreements with countries such as the Solomon Islands.
Speaking to media outlets such as the ABC on PNG, Wang said a re-establishment of China-Australia relations would require concrete action.
“[Our] Ties with Australia have been strained in recent years. The crux of the matter is that some Australian political forces insist on treating China as an adversary rather than a partner, and portraying China’s development as a threat rather than an opportunity, “he said.
“These moves have led to a significant reversal of Australia’s positive and pragmatic Chinese policy that has been going on for many years.”
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