Beijing, AB. Australia on Sunday said a Chinese warplane was a threat by adopting a “dangerous” approach to its maritime surveillance aircraft flying over the South China Sea. The Australian Defense Ministry said on its website on May 26 that a Chinese Air Force J-16 aircraft had intercepted a P-8A Poseidan maritime surveillance aircraft carrying out routine patrols in international airspace. The ministry said the dangerous interference was a threat to the safety of the P-8 aircraft and its crew. Australia has expressed its concern to the Chinese government. China has not yet responded.
This is not the first incident of sectarianism in China. Earlier in April 2001, a Chinese pilot was killed in a collision between a US EP-3 surveillance aircraft and a Chinese naval jet. China detains US flight attendants for 10 days Relations between Australia and China have been strained for years as Beijing has refused top-level exchanges in response to Beijing’s trade sanctions and Canberra rules aimed at foreign intervention in its domestic politics.
Australia and others are seeking to halt Chinese incursions into the South Pacific, including Beijing’s signing a security agreement with the Solomon Islands. This allows troops and ships to be stationed in the archipelago 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) off the Australian coast.
The incident took place last month amid the aggressive behavior of the Chinese military in the border areas. There have been incidents of Chinese targeting aircraft, ships and ground defense forces from India, Canada, the United States and the Philippines. Already in February, Australia said a Chinese naval vessel fired a laser at its P-8A Poseidon and illuminated the laser aircraft while it was flying over northern Australia. The move by the Chinese navy has called into question the safety of Australian flight attendants.
China claims ownership of the entire South China Sea and continues to exert pressure against other countries by claiming parts of the strategic waterway. These include the construction of military facilities on man-made islands, the suppression of foreign fishing vessels, and military operations in Hawaii and the international seas.
Earlier this year, U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Adam John C. Aquilino said China had fully militarized its three islands. They are equipped with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment and military aircraft. The United States and its allies continue to challenge China’s claims and conduct patrols and military exercises in the region.
Agreements were signed between several countries aimed at reducing tensions. There has been an angry reaction from Beijing. Australia has been conducting maritime surveillance operations in the region for decades and is doing so in accordance with international law, which uses the right to navigate international maritime and airspace and fly more, the Australian Ministry said.
Edited by: Arun Kumar Singh
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