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China accuses ADF of ‘throwing mud’ over laser accusations

written by Isabella Richards | February 21, 2022

A PLA-N Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel transits through the Torres Strait on 18 February 2022. (ADF)

China has accused Australia of “throwing mud” at the nation for failing to disclose key details regarding the laser that illuminated a RAAF P-8A Poseidon.

Chinese military professional Song Zhongping told The Global Times on Monday that the incident was almost certainly the fault of the Australian patrol aircraft because it conducted a close-in reconnaissance on the warships.

The “serious safety incident” occurred at 12:35 am on 17 February and was detected while the RAAF Poseidon was flying over Australia’s north.

It was directed from People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N) vessels – China’s national armed forces – including the Type 052D destroyer Hefei and the Type 071 amphibious landing ship the Jinggangshan.

“Australia failed to tell the public how close its aircraft flew near the Chinese vessels, so people could not tell if the Chinese vessels were forced to take defensive countermeasures,” Song said.

While the source was not named, an analyst close to the PLA told the Chinese publication most modern warships are equipped with rangefinders which measure distances between objects.

“They are also used for civilian purposes and are of little danger, the anonymous analyst said, noting that the Australian military knowingly hyped this with the aim of throwing mud at China,” the Global Times said.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the act amid rising tensions with China, saying he “can see it no other way than an act of intimidation, one that was unprovoked, unwarranted, and Australia will never accept such acts of intimidation.”

Fears over the laser shining towards a RAAF aircraft stemmed from the vessel’s proximity to Australia’s coast, specifically inside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The EEZ is an area of sea beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, and a certain state will have sovereignty over the zone regarding maritime use and exploration. Australia’s EEZ extends from 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coastline of Australia.

Travelling this close meant the laser had capabilities of taking out the aircraft’s sensors, according to ABC defence correspondent Andrew Greene.

But Chinese officials said it “only exposes the Australian aircraft’s unsafe, provocative close-in reconnaissance on the Chinese ships in the first place”.

In the past weeks, China has sent out large sums of food, water and tents as aid for residents in Tonga due to the volcano eruption that occurred in January via air force aircraft and ships.

Analysts told the publication Australia does not like China providing humanitarian aid to other nations and will find ways to “discredit” the country.

Comments (8)

  • MARIO PONTURO

    says:

    It’s time for Peter Dutton to retire, he has caused a great deal of disruption and fabricated lies. China it seems is making positive contributions towards Humanitarian causes, why would you undermine these very decent efforts. Unfortunately both Morrison & Dutton have lost Billions of Dollars in income for Australia. When are they going to accountable. Most importantly their Lies and slurs are so evident, Lying to the French Prime Minister – Accusing the Opposition Leader of not being a Loyal and true Australian. We have signed off once again to this Quad, thanks to the Liberal/Coalition. India which requires Coal for ongoing – Japan which requires Uranium for Nuclear – US to continue our overwhelming spend in their Homeland security –

    • Gary

      says:

      Was going to comment; however, couldn’t bring myself to do so as I was crying with laughter.

  • Gordon Mackinlay

    says:

    Joseph Goebbels would be very proud of this PRC spin doctoring. Tell the lie, louder and longest, and the useful fools will believe it. The professional press over the past twenty years has been warning about the Chinese development and fitting of laser “blinding” onto their warships. I would rather take the report from the RAAF rather than PLA news releases. But, looking at todays Guardian newspaper from the UK, which has free access in Australia, which the SMH, ABC News, and other electronic outlets repeat verbatim, Australia is blame about making physical threats to peaceful C=PLA warships on a mission of mercy!

  • Terence O'Neill-Joyce

    says:

    Let the sleeping dragon lie.

    • Gordon Mackinlay

      says:

      It has been many, many years since it was a sleeping dragon

  • Ulick Gage

    says:

    Would it have been polite of the Chinese ships to ask permission to transit the Australian EEZ or is the Torres Strait now assumed to be part of the Chinese EEZ?

  • Craigy

    says:

    The RAAF has a lot of experience in the maritime surveillance environment and I would believe them any time over a deceitful and untrustworthy CCP. I wonder if the ships captain will disappear after returning to China?

  • Vannus

    says:

    Typical China CCP reaction.
    Everybody else is to blame, EXCEPT them!

    They’re just pathetic, always have been, always will be, until the other nations’ of the world give ‘em back some stick.

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