In an interview with Sky News television channel (Australia) on 20 November, Prime Minister Albanese confirmed: “It is dangerous, unsafe and unprofessional on the part of Chinese warships. Such an incident would worsen relations between the two countries. “This is definitely an incident that will damage relations. And we have made it clear to China. This kind of incident should not happen.”
According to Prime Minister Albanese, the incident that injured a diver shows the need for “communication barriers” between the two countries’ armies.
Mr Albanese said the matter was raised through “all the usual channels”, but did not say whether it was discussed in a private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at APEC.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Canberra in May. Photo: Reuters
The incident occurred while the Australian long-range destroyer HMAS Toowoomba was supporting the enforcement of UN sanctions in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone on 14 November.
Australian divers were removing fishing nets from propellers underwater when a Chinese destroyer PLA-N (DDG-139) approached them.
HMAS Toowoomba informed the Chinese about the diving activity and asked them to maintain a safe distance. However, the Chinese ship nevertheless closed the distance and activated sonar, endangering the divers and forcing them to abort the mission.
according to page bloombergThe above incident caused the opposition coalition in Australia to criticize that Mr Albanese was more interested in the opportunity to be photographed with President Xi Jinping during his visit to China in November, and was unwilling to protect national interests. Australia. However, Mr Albanese rejected this argument.
The Australian ship HMAS Toowoomba operates in international waters off the coast of Japan. Photo: ABC
As far as China is concerned, on 20 November the country’s Defense Ministry announced that the Chinese destroyer monitored HMAS Toowoomba from a safe distance and did not conduct any activities that affected Australian divers.
China said Australia should not make “reckless and irresponsible accusations against China”.
Defense Ministry spokesman Ngo Khiem said, “We call on the Australian side to respect the truth and stop making reckless and irresponsible accusations against China.” He also said that Beijing had sent a complaint to Canberra.
Also on November 20, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ninh said: “The Chinese military maintains strict discipline and always operates professionally in accordance with international law and practices. We hope that relevant parties will stop causing trouble. and cooperate to maintain the pace of China’s development.” -Australia relations.”