Australia accuses Chinese plane of firing flares and cutting in front of the Australian surveillance plane
Australia has accused a Chinese fighter jet pilot of performing a dangerous maneuver near one of its aircraft over the South China Sea. According to the report, the Chinese plane fired flares and cut in front of the Australian surveillance plane.
The Chinese plane then dropped “chaff,” an anti-radar device made up of small pieces of aluminum that entered the Australian plane’s engine. Beijing claims the majority of the region as its own.
The Royal Australian Air Force P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft on May 26. It was during a routine maritime surveillance mission, according to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Defense Minister Richard Marles stated that the Chinese plane flew very close to the RAAF plane. It also released a “bundle of chaff” containing the small pieces of aluminum that were ingested into the Australian plane’s engine.
Australia’s defense ministry stated in a statement that it has “for decades undertaken maritime surveillance activities in the region” and “does so in accordance with international law, exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace.”
Beijing has yet to respond to the incident. In recent years, China has been constructing military infrastructure there. However, the United States, neighboring countries, and others, including Australia, dispute its claim.
In February, Australia accused a Chinese navy ship of directing a military-grade laser at one of its warplanes over the Arafura Sea off the coast of northern Australia.
Act of Intimidation: Australia
The former Australian government called the incident “an act of intimidation” and warned that it could endanger lives. Earlier this month, Canada’s military levelled a similar charge, alleging that Chinese pilots acted in an unprofessional manner. It was during recent encounters with its planes in international airspace.
The Canadian aircraft, which were deployed in Japan as part of a effort to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea. They were forced to change their flight path quickly in order to “avoid a potential collision with the intercepting aircraft,” according to the statement.
Such incidents are not uncommon. In April 2001, a collision between a US EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese air force jet resulted in the death of the Chinese pilot. It also led to detention of the US air crew for ten days by China.
The United States and its allies have consistently challenged Chinese claims in the area by staging patrols and military exercises. It elicited angry responses from Beijing despite agreements aimed at reducing tensions.
New Low in bi-lateral relations:
For years, Australia-China relations have been strained after Beijing imposed trade barriers. It also refused high-level exchanges in response to Canberra enacting rules prohibiting foreign interference in domestic politics.
Australia and others have also attempted to thwart Chinese incursions into the South Pacific. Such as Beijing’s signing of a security agreement with the Solomon Islands. It could also result in China stationing troops and ships in the archipelago. It is less than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coast.
By signing the AUKUS pact with US and UK, Australia revealed its global position. It supports the United States over China. It’s a significant step for an Asia-Pacific country.
“We’re operating completely within our rights … most of our trade traverses the South China Sea,” Minister Marles said. “This incident will not deter Australia from continuing to engage in these activities, which are within our rights and international law to assure that there is freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, because that is fundamentally in our nation’s interest.”