SYDNEY, Nov 20 – Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has expressed concerns over a dangerous incident involving a Chinese warship and an Australian navy vessel that resulted in injuries to a military diver. This incident has further strained the relationship between the two countries.
Defence Minister Richard Marles revealed that the incident took place on Nov. 14 in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba was engaged in a diving operation to remove fishing nets from its propellers when the Chinese warship engaged in a reckless manner.
In an interview with Sky News Australia, Albanese emphasized the need for better communication and guidelines between militaries to prevent such incidents from occurring again. He described the Chinese warship’s actions as dangerous, unsafe, and unprofessional.
Although the incident was reported through the appropriate channels, it remains unclear if Albanese discussed it during his private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco.
The Australian Defence Minister stated that the Chinese warship, without responding to the Australian vessel’s notification of the ongoing diving operation, deliberately used its hull-mounted sonar in a way that posed a safety risk. Medical assessments later confirmed that minor injuries sustained by the divers were likely caused by the destroyer’s sonar.
Albanese acknowledged that such incidents have a detrimental impact on the relationship between the two countries. He confirmed that Australia has made its concerns clear to China regarding the incident.
Unanswered questions remain about whether Chinese President Xi Jinping was made aware of this incident during his meeting with Albanese.
The Australian Prime Minister’s recent visit to China aimed to revitalize the dialogue between the two nations. However, this incident has complicated the efforts to improve and develop China-Australia relations.
China’s embassy in Australia defended its military’s actions, stating that they adhere to international law and professional conduct. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson called on the relevant party to cease creating issues and work together to maintain positive momentum in China-Australia relations.
As both countries navigate the aftermath of this incident, it serves as a stark reminder of the importance of open communication, respect for international law, and maintaining safety protocols to prevent further escalations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What happened during the incident between the Chinese warship and the Australian navy vessel?
During a diving operation in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, a Chinese warship approached the Australian navy vessel, disregarded the notification of the diving operation, and operated its sonar in a way that posed a safety risk. This resulted in injuries to a military diver.
2. Did the Australian Prime Minister discuss this incident with President Xi Jinping?
It remains unclear if the Australian Prime Minister raised the issue during his private meeting with the Chinese President at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco.
3. What are the consequences of this incident on China-Australia relations?
The incident has strained the relationship between China and Australia. The Australian Prime Minister has made it clear that such incidents damage the bilateral relationship, and Australia has expressed its concerns to China.
4. How did China respond to these allegations?
China’s embassy in Australia defended its military’s actions, stating that they conform to international law and professional conduct. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson appealed to the relevant party to stop creating issues and work together to maintain positive momentum in China-Australia relations.