SYDNEY, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said a Chinese warship had acted dangerously when a military diver was injured in an accident with an Australian naval vessel, his first on the issue. said the comments damaged the relationship.
The long-range frigate HMAS Toowoomba was conducting a diving operation to remove fishing nets from her propellers in Japan’s exclusive economic zone on 14 November. at the time of the incident Defense Minister Richard Marles said on Saturday.
Mr. Albanese briefly spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in San Francisco last week, but there was controversy at home over whether he had raised the issue with the Chinese leader. is under political pressure.
In an interview with Sky News Australia on Monday, Mr Albanese said the incident left one person injured and demonstrated the need for “communications guardrails” between forces.
“This was dangerous. The Chinese warships were unsafe and unprofessional,” he said.
Mr Albanese said the case had been raised through “all normal channels” but did not say whether the issue had been discussed in private talks with Mr Xi at APEC.
“The consequence of these events is that they are damaging to the relationship. And this is certainly a damaging event. And we have clearly communicated that to China,” he added. .
Mr Marles previously said a People’s Liberation Army Navy destroyer approached HMAS Toowoomba and operated its hull-mounted sonar in a manner that posed a security risk, despite the Australian warship notifying the Chinese warship of the diving operation. said.
A medical evaluation revealed that the diver suffered minor injuries, which were likely caused by the destroyer’s sonar, the defense minister added.
The Albanian visited China this month, becoming the first Australian leader to do so in seven years. Resume annual activities Leader dialogue.
The Chinese Embassy in Australia on Monday referred to comments by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning during a regular press conference in Beijing, saying that the Chinese military “always maintains a high degree of discipline and conducts professional operations in accordance with international law and practice.” “We are doing this,” he said.
“We hope that the relevant parties will stop provoking problems in front of China and work with us to jointly maintain the momentum of improving and developing China-Australia relations,” he added.
Report by Kirsty Needham.Editing: Lincoln Feast and Bernadette Baum
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