Anthony Albanese has alleged that a Chinese warship engaged in “reckless, hazardous, and unskilled” actions following an altercation with an Australian ship that resulted in one individual being harmed.
The prime minister has not confirmed if he discussed the matter in person with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Apec summit last week, but stated that the government expressed their concerns through all available channels.
On Saturday, Defense Minister Richard Marles reported that a group of divers from the HMAS Toowoomba were injured due to sonar pulses from a Chinese warship in international waters near Japan last Tuesday. During a Sky News interview on Monday, Albanese expressed his concern about the situation.
“According to Albanese, an individual was injured due to the actions of China.”
“This is the type of situation that I have addressed before…it highlights the importance of communication and boundaries, and the need to prevent reckless incidents. This is the reason why we have expressed our strong opposition towards China.”
We are currently in disagreement with China on this matter and believe that such incidents should not happen.
The Chinese defense ministry denied the Australian prime minister’s statement, stating that it did not align with the truth.
The Chinese defense ministry stated on Monday that China maintained a safe distance from the Australian ship.
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On Thursday, Albanese revealed that he had encountered Xi at the Apec conference in San Francisco. The incident at sea happened on Tuesday, but was not revealed until after Albanese had left Apec and it was announced on Saturday. However, on Monday, the prime minister refused to confirm if he had discussed the incident with Xi.
“I can guarantee that we have addressed these concerns in a proper and explicit manner. China fully understands Australia’s stance on this matter,” stated Albanese in an interview with Sky.
The political opposition, known as the Coalition, stated that Albanese should have had a direct conversation with Xi regarding the issue.
“Did shadow home affairs minister James Paterson inquire if [Albanese] was aware of this event, especially since [Albanese] has publicly expressed his interactions with Xi Jinping and China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi during his visit?”
If he has not explicitly stated it, then it seems that the answer is that he did not.
The office of Albanese was reached out to for a response regarding whether or not the matter was addressed at Apec.
Chinese officials have made a statement expressing their concern to the government in Canberra and advising Australia to acknowledge the truth.
The Toowoomba sent out divers to untangle fishing nets from its propellers. However, while doing so, a Chinese destroyer was detected using its hull-mounted sonar. According to Marles, the divers suffered minor injuries, likely due to exposure to the sonar pulses. The defense minister made this statement on Saturday.
The event occurs while the Australian government promotes the improving relationship with China, as trade barriers worth billions of dollars are lifted by Beijing and re-engagement takes place through diplomatic means after Albanese’s recent visit.
The ambassador of Australia to the United States, Kevin Rudd, stated on Radio National that it is a common practice not to discuss the details of discussions between leaders. Rudd referred to the question as a “distraction” from the larger sonar issue and pointed out that the government has already expressed strong disapproval publicly.
The issue of Albanese raising the matter with Xi was not confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil. She stated that the matter was dealt with through the proper channels.
The Australian government has strongly condemned an incident that put individuals who enlisted to defend our country in danger. The seriousness of this matter is not taken lightly, as stated by a spokesperson during a press conference.
When asked about the impact of the incident on the government’s goal of improving relations with China, O’Neil stated that Australia would not use their relationship for political gain.
She stated, “China will remain in our region for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we must figure out a way to peacefully coexist in the years to come.”
We will continue to prioritize effectively managing this relationship.
Sussan Ley, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal party, expressed disapproval of the government’s actions in a social media post.
“We should work together when possible, but stand our ground when necessary. However, we should not use this as an excuse to manipulate CCP’s aggressive actions that harm our ADF members,” she stated, referring to Albanese’s frequent statement about our connection with China.
“Once again, Anthony Albanese shows inadequate leadership by seemingly placing more importance on photo opportunities with Xi Jinping rather than advocating for our citizens.”
During his appearance on ABC radio, Paterson also urged for additional information.
Australia is working to maintain a significant relationship with China, but we must prioritize our own interests. The prime minister has emphasized that we will stand our ground when necessary.
We should not condone the deliberate harm caused by the People’s Liberation Army Navy to our Australian Navy divers in the exclusive economic zone of Japan’s international waters. This incident occurred last week.
More information provided by Amy Hawkins.