Asia

China responds to Dutton spy ship claim


Claims a Chinese spy ship was cruising off the WA coast have been blasted as ‘sensational’ and ‘fear mongering’ by Beijing.

China has labelled Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s claims about a spy ship off the coast of Western Australia as “fear mongering” and “sensational”.

The ship was tracked along the coastline for the past week and was spotted on Friday heading north about 250 nautical miles off Broome in WA’s north, according to Defence Minister Peter Dutton.

He said the vessel was there to collect intelligence “right along the coastline” and labelled it an “aggressive act”.

But China’s Foreign Minister Zhao Lijian told reporters at a daily briefing the country always follows international law.

“The Australian politician concerned should view the situation with objectivity and calm, instead of making sensational comments aimed at fear mongering,” he told reporters.

Mr Dutton said the ship was in proximity to military and intelligence installations and that Australian authorities were tracking the ship.

He also labelled the situation as “unprecedented”.

The relationship with Beijing has been strained after the Chinese government signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands.



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