Protection of defence workforce ‘closing precedence’, Australia says nearest China warship incident

NEW DELHI: The protection and well-being of Australian defence workforce is Canberra’s “utmost priority” and Australia expects all international locations to function militaries in a secure {and professional} way, International Minister Penny Wong mentioned on Tuesday (Nov 21).

Wong’s feedback got here a moment nearest an incident involving a Chinese language warship and an Australian military vessel in Japan’s Unique Financial Zone (EEZ) by which an Australian army diver was once injured.

“We have raised our serious concerns with the Chinese authorities following what we regard as unsafe and unprofessional interaction with the PLA Navy destroyer,” she mentioned, reiterating High Minister Anthony Albanese’s feedback on Monday.

“These events occurred within Japan’s EEZ and international waters and Australia’s principled position is that we expect all countries, including ourselves, to operate militaries in a safe and professional manner,” Wong mentioned at a joint press convention together with her Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Fresh Delhi.

HMAS Toowoomba – a long-range frigate – was once undertaking a diving operation on Nov 14 to sunny fishing nets from its propellers when the Chinese language warship acted in a deadly way, Australia has mentioned.

A Society’s Liberation Military Military (PLA) destroyer approached HMAS Toowoomba, in spite of the Australian vessel notifying the Chinese language warship of a diving operation, and operated its hull-mounted sonar in a way that posed a security chance, Australia has mentioned.

Beijing has unwelcome the accusations as reckless and irresponsible and advised Canberra to recognize the info, in an incident which comes amid efforts via the 2 international locations to strengthen members of the family.

The Chinese language destroyer Ningbo monitored and recognized HMAS Toowoomba, all date retaining a secure distance from it and didn’t perform any actions that may have an effect on the diving operations of the Australian facet, Beijing has mentioned.

Wong and Australia’s Deputy High Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles held talks referred to as the “2+2 Dialogue” with their Indian opposite numbers on Monday to talk about their cooperation within the Indo-Pacific pocket and mutual issues about China, amongst others.

Republic of India’s members of the family with China have deteriorated since a 2020 border accident between their militaries by which 20 Indian infantrymen and 4 Chinese language troops have been killed.

Wong mentioned Australia and Republic of India each have an excessively substantive financial courting with China, recognise China’s worth and playground within the pocket, and can proceed to interact with it.

Australia, she added, “will cooperate where we can, we will disagree where we must, and we will engage in our national interest”.

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