Chinese Defense Ministry rebuts Australia's claims about recent warship interaction
Published: Nov 21, 2023 12:45 AM
Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian.

Photo: Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesperson Wu Qian

Australia's claims about a recent interaction between Chinese and Australian warships are completely inconsistent with the facts, said a spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense on Monday.

Spokesperson Wu Qian's statement came in response to Australia's recent accusation that a Chinese warship conducted "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction with an Australian warship in "international waters in Japan's exclusive economic zone," resulting in injuries to Australian naval divers.

China is firmly opposed to the Australian remarks and has lodged solemn representations with the Australian side, Wu said.

Australia's HMAS Toowoomba frigate recently operated in waters near the East China Sea, and China's Ningbo destroyer took measures including tracking, monitoring, identifying and verifying in accordance with the law and regulations, Wu said.

In the process, the Chinese vessel strictly abided by international rules including the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. It kept a safe distance from the Australian vessel, and did not conduct any activity that could affect the Australian side's diving operations, Wu said.

China and Japan have not carried out maritime delimitation in the relevant waters, so the claim of Chinese military activity in "Japan's exclusive economic zone" is not correct, the spokesperson stressed.

"We urge the Australian side to respect the facts, stop rude and irresponsible accusations toward China, engage in endeavors that are conducive in boosting mutual trust, and build a positive atmosphere for developing better bilateral relations and military-to-military ties," Wu said.

In response to the same event, Mao Ning, a spokesperson at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular press conference on Monday that the Chinese military is strictly disciplined and always operates professionally in accordance with international law and international common practices.

"We hope relevant parties will stop making trouble in front of China's doorsteps and work with China to preserve the momentum of improving and growing China-Australia ties," Mao said.

Global Times