Australia says plane intercepted by China in ‘dangerous engine’

Australia has accused the Chinese military of a “dangerous act” after one of its surveillance plans was blocked in the South China Sea just days after Anthony Albanese was elected prime minister.

The Australian Department of Defense said a Chinese J-16 fighter jet intercepted a P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft during routine surveillance in international waters on May 26.

The division added: “The interception resulted in a hazardous maneuver that threatened the safety of the P-8 aircraft and its crew.

The incident came five days after the Australian election, in which relations with China stood out after three years of tension under the government of former prime minister Scott Morrison.

Albanese has maintained a tough stance against China since coming to power, stepping up efforts against spread in the Pacific Ocean and called for an end to Beijing’s punitive tariffs on Australian goods.

The prime minister told reporters on Sunday that the intercept was “unsafe” and that his government had complained to China. “We have reached out to the appropriate representatives to the Chinese government to express our concerns on this matter,” he said.

“This is not the first time Australian planes have been rumored,” said Euan Graham, a senior fellow on Asia-Pacific security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. [the] South China Sea, but a good sign [the] The Australian Department of Defense is becoming more transparent about that.”

The encounter is the latest in a series of blitzkrieg between Australia and China. In February, a Chinese navy ship used a laser against a surveillance plane off Australia’s north coast in what Morrison called gratuitous “act of intimidation”.

Peter Dutton, former defense minister who replace Morrison as head of Australia’s conservative Liberal party, also revealed before the election that a Chinese surveillance vessel arrived within 50 knots of a naval communications base near the western tip of the country. The People’s Liberation Army vessel was in international waters but Mr Dutton said it was “unusual” for a Chinese vessel to move further south and described it as an “act of aggression”.

Xiao Qian, China’s ambassador to Australia, called for easing tensions between the two countries in the election that culminated this year when Dutton told the Australian people “Preparing for War”.

Albanese, who appointed Deputy Labor Secretary Richard Marles as defense secretary, instead called “strategic competition” in the Indo-Pacific region as he grapples with how to deal with regional tensions politics with Australia’s largest trading partner.

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