June 25, 2022

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Australia says China intercepted a military plane over the South China Sea, forcing it to return to base

Australia says China intercepted a military plane over the South China Sea, forcing it to return to base

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a Chinese fighter An Australian military aircraft moved in front of an Australian military aircraft over the South China Sea, and threw flying debris into the engine, forcing the aircraft to return to base, the Australian Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.

The incident occurred on May 26, as a P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft intercepted a Chinese J-16 fighter jet while on a routine patrol in international airspace. Australian Department of Defense He said.

File: In this undated file photo released by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, a Chinese J-16 fighter jet of the People’s Liberation Army is flying at an unknown location.
(Taiwanese Ministry of Defense via AP)

Defense Secretary Richard Marles said the Chinese J-16 flew close to the Australian plane and released flares and scales that were devoured by the engines of Poseidon, a converted Boeing 737-800.

“The J-16 accelerated.. and cut off the nose of the P-8, and landed in front of the P-8 at a very close distance,” Marles told reporters in Melbourne. “At that moment, I then released a packet of straw, containing small pieces of aluminum, some of which were swallowed into the engine of the P-8. Obviously this is very dangerous.”

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He said the P-8 crew responded professionally and returned the aircraft to its base. There was no official response from Beijing on Sunday.

“The defense has for decades been carrying out maritime surveillance activities in the region and it does so in accordance with international law, exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace,” The Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

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relationships between Australia and China have been deteriorating for years After Beijing imposed trade barriers and rejected high-level exchanges in response to Canberra’s enactment of rules targeting foreign interference in its domestic politics.

Chinese structures and buildings appear on the man-made Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed group of Spratlys islands in the South China Sea on March 20, 2022.

Chinese structures and buildings appear on the man-made Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed group of Spratlys islands in the South China Sea on March 20, 2022.
(AP Photo/Aaron Favela)

Last month’s incident comes amid increasingly aggressive behavior by the Chinese military in border areas and at sea, targeting aircraft, ships and ground forces from India, Canada, the United States and the Philippines.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea and has been steadily escalating pressure against other countries that claim parts of the strategic waterway. This included building military installations on artificial islands, harassing foreign fishing vessels, and carrying out military missions in the air and international sea.

Earlier this year, the commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific region, Admiral John C. Aquilino, said that China has militarized at least three of its holdings on the islands, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment and military aircraft.

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The United States and its allies have repeatedly defied Chinese claims by conducting military patrols and exercises in the region, prompting angry reactions from Beijing despite agreements aimed at reducing tensions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.