Home » Australia Protests China’s Aerial Aggression In Yellow Sea

Australia Protests China’s Aerial Aggression In Yellow Sea

In what is seen as a major violation of international maritime safety laws, Australia announced on Monday that the government had formally lodged a protest with Beijing after a dangerous encounter over international waters.

According to the officials, a Chinese J-10 fighter jet deployed flares dangerously close to an Australian navy MH60R Seahawk helicopter. The incident occurred last week over the Yellow Sea, as the Australian helicopter was engaged in a routine mission to enforce sanctions against North Korea.

The confrontation, which took place on Saturday, saw the Chinese aircraft releasing flares directly above and several hundred metres ahead of the Seahawk, posing a significant risk to the safety of those on board. In response to this aggressive manoeuvre, the Australian Government released a statement on Monday, detailing the event and expressing its concerns over the reckless actions of the Chinese jet in what are international waters.

This incident adds tension to the already strained relations between China and Australia, highlighting ongoing disputes over military conduct in contested maritime areas.

The helicopter, flying from destroyer HMAS Hobart, took evasive action and dodged the flares, but the possible impact of being hit would have been “significant,” Defence Minister Richard Marles said in a statement.

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“This is a very serious incident, it was unsafe and it is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“We have formally expressed our concerns about this incident, and formally expressed that this was both unsafe and unprofessional.”

The incident put the aircraft and those on board at risk, although no one was hurt, the Department of Defence said in a separate statement.
Australia said it has been participating in missions to enforce sanctions against North Korea in the region since 2018. The HMAS Hobart continues to operate in the area. China’s Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, currently on a state visit to France, is scheduled to visit Australia later this year, marking his first trip there in a decade. This planned visit comes as relations between China and Australia have shown signs of improvement.