Australia wants ‘full investigation’ into China laser incident – Morrison
Australia’s prime minister said on Monday a Chinese naval vessel that pointed a laser at an Australian military aircraft was so close to Australia’scoast that it possibly could have been seen from the shore, and he called for a full Chinese investigation.
Scott Morrison told media his government had not received an explanation from China over the incident last Thursday, which Australia considered “dangerous and reckless”.
China said Australia’s version of events did “not square up with facts” and was “disinformation”.
The Chinese navy vessel within Australia’s exclusive economic zone directed a laser at an Australian military aircraft over Australia’s northern approaches, illuminating the plane and potentially endangering lives, Australia said on
The P-8A Poseidon – a maritime patrol aircraft – detected a laser emanating from a People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLA-N) vessel, the Defence Department said, releasing photographs of two Chinese vessels sailing close to Australia’s north coast.
A Chinese guided missile destroyer and an amphibious transport dock were sailing east through the Arafura Sea between New Guinea and Australia at the time of the incident, and later passed through the narrow Torres Strait.
Australia had called through diplomatic and defence channels for “a full investigation into this event”, he said.
He compared the incident to a hypothetical situation of an Australian frigate pointing a laser at Chinese surveillance aircraft in the Taiwan Strait, adding: “Could you imagine their reaction to that in Beijing?”
China’s foreign ministry rejected the Australian criticism saying the ship was abiding by international law.
“The Chinese vessel sailing in the high seas complies with relevant international law and international practice and is fully legitimate and legal,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing.
“We urge the Australian side to respect Chinese vessels legitimate rights in accordance with international law in relevant seas and stop maliciously spreading disinformation in regards to China.”