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‘Determined to protect our sovereignty’: Chinese Ambassador defends RAAF interception

written by Charbel Kadib | August 11, 2022

Beijing’s ambassador to Australia has sought to justify the Chinese military’s interception of a RAAF P-8A Poseidon and has issued an ominous warning regarding a potential conflict with Taiwan.

In an address to the National Press Club, Chinese ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian has called for a “reset” of diplomatic relations between Canberra and Beijing.

The relationship has deteriorated in the last few years amid a ramp-up in aggression from President Xi Jinping’s regime and following the Commonwealth government’s open criticism of China’s human rights abuses.

But Xiao said he is hopeful the relationship can improve ahead of the 50th anniversary of Australia-China relations in December.


However, Xiao’s opening remarks were followed by a series of questions from Australian media, which challenged the regime’s recent behaviour in the Indo-Pacific.

When asked about the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) interception of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon earlier this year, Xiao claimed such actions were justified, given Beijing’s unilateral claim over the airspace near Taiwan.

During the incident, which took place above the South China Sea on 26 May, the Shenyang J-16 strike fighter cut across the nose of the Australian surveillance platform, releasing a “bundle of chaff” ingested into the RAAF aircraft’s engine.

“That location was within a territorial space of an island that belongs to China,” he said.

“If you’re in your house, within your compound [and] somebody’s driving around carrying a gun and trying to peep into your window to see what you’re doing with your family and what you’re talking about with your family members, you’d feel threatened and uncomfortable.

“You’d have to come out and tell those people to keep their distance at least.”

Xiao went on to address concerns over China’s ongoing military exercises off the coast of Taiwan in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

The ambassador claimed Beijing had been “patient” for several decades, seeking peaceful unification with Taiwan, but has since been provoked by the US and its allies, which he contended violated their commitments to the One China policy.

Xiao warned China would not rule out the option to use “other means”.

“When necessary, when compelled, we are ready to use all necessary means. As to what I mean by ‘all necessary means’, you can use your imagination,” he said.

“But the 1.4 billion Chinese people are absolutely determined to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We will never allow Taiwan to be separated from China.”

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