Chinese expert slams Australia for hyping ‘spy ship’ to win votes before election
Published: May 13, 2022 11:41 PM
China Australia. Photo: VCG

China Australia. Photo: VCG

Chinese experts on Wednesday urged Australia to respect any country’s right to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international seas and airspace after Australia claimed that a Chinese intelligence ship was tracked off the country’s West coast in what it described as an “aggressive act” in the region.

Australia’s Minister Peter Dutton said on Friday that a Chinese ship was sighted on Friday morning heading north about 250 nautical miles from Broome in western Australia, and had been tracked along the coastline for the past week.

“Its intention, of course, is to collect intelligence right along the coastline,” Dutton said. “It has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the West coast of Australia.”

“Even if the Chinese ship does appear off the West coast of Australia, it does not violate any international law. Australia should respect the right of all countries to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international seas and airspace,” a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Friday.

“Why is Australia hyping up this incident and even describing it as an ‘aggressive act’? It really reflects the common logic of Western politicians: I can threaten your security, but you have no right to respond,” the expert said. 

The frequency of Chinese vessels’ arrival in these waters is far less than that of US and Australian vessels in the South China Sea. Australian politicians are well aware of this and it is clearly a deliberate hype effort, the expert said. 

Recently, Australia has been overly sensitive to China and frequently hyped up the "China threat" theory. 

“There is no doubt that Australian politicians’ purpose is to win votes ahead of the election by being tough on China,” the expert said. 

Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the research center for Pacific Island countries of Liaocheng University in East China’s Shandong Province, told the Global Times that hyping the China threat theory will help right-wing politicians to obtain votes in the election and to get the US government’s financial support. 

Their reaction aims to show to its citizens as well as to the US that Australia can interfere in China-related affairs such as Taiwan and the South China Sea together with the US but China has no right to threaten them back, Yu said.  

Asked about the ship sighting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the specific situation, stressing that China always abides by international law and international practice.

“The relevant Australian politician should see the relevant situation objectively and calmly, and not make sensational remarks,” Zhao said at Friday’s routine press briefing.