Australia – China aircraft ‘encountered danger’ in the East Sea

According to the Australian Department of Defense, on May 26, the Australian military’s RAAF P-8 aircraft was conducting a routine reconnaissance operation in the area when it was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter jet. According to Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, the Chinese plane is believed to have “flying very close next door” the P-8, then “head banging” Australian plane and ejected “a cloud containing small pieces of aluminum”.

Australia - China aircraft 'encountered danger' in the East Sea - 1

Chinese J-16 aircraft. (Illustration)

At a press conference in Perth, Australia on June 5, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed concern about the incident. According to him, this is a threat to Australian aircraft and pilots. This leader said Canberra has been in contact with Beijing “through the appropriate channels”.

The Australian official added that the country’s defense ministry for decades has carried out reconnaissance missions in the region, “obeying international law, exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace”.

This is not the only time that Chinese and Australian forces have had an incident in the past few months. In February, Australia called for a full investigation, alleging that a Chinese navy ship aimed a laser at an Australian military aircraft off the country’s northern coast. Australian Prime Minister at the time, Mr. Scott Morrison called this “act of intimidation”.

Relations between Beijing and Canberra have deteriorated over the past few years, particularly after Mr Morrison called for an international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking during a visit to Papua New Guinea this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said to “refresh” the relationship between China and Australia would require “concrete actions” and that “nothing is automatic” motion” is achieved.

Last week, the Canadian military recorded a similar incident, saying Chinese planes repeatedly approached Canadian spy planes as they were flying over the area to enforce sanctions on North Korea.

The Canadian Armed Forces denounced Chinese military aircraft “failure to comply with international aviation safety regulations” and have interactions “unprofessional”, “putting the safety of members of the Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in jeopardy”.

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