Sydney, Australia, Feb 20 (EFE).- Australia’s prime minister accused China of intimidation on Sunday after Chinese naval ships allegedly used lasers on an Australian surveillance plane in the Arafura Sea, which lies between New Guinea and Australia.
“I can see it no other way than an act of intimidation, one that was unprovoked, unwarranted and Australia will never accept such acts of intimidation,” Scott Morrison said at a press briefing.
Morrison pointed out that the incident, which occurred on Thursday, took place in Australia’s exclusive economic zone, referring to the 200 nautical miles from its coastline, but not in its territorial waters.
“So it was a dangerous act. These sorts of things can disable such aircraft and put those on that aircraft at great risk. So I thought it was a reckless and irresponsible act,” the Australian president said.
“Now, we’re raising those issues directly through the diplomatic and defense channels,” he added.
Morrison said that in order to stand up to “coercion and bullying and intimidation and threats” Australia has increased defense capability spending, investments in border protection agencies and intelligence services and forged defense alliances with other countries, including the AUKUS (between Australia, United Kingdom and United States) and the Quad (between Australia, US, Japan and India).
Diplomatic and trade tensions between Beijing and Canberra have escalated in recent years despite China being Australia’s biggest trading partner. EFE