Australia says China threatened plane over South China Sea

Jun 4, 2022, 12:47 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2022, 5:54 am
FILE - In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fi...

FILE - In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. Australia on Sunday, June 5, 2022, said a Chinese J-16 fighter jet carried out dangerous maneuvers threatening the safety of one of its maritime surveillance planes over the South China Sea. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP, File)

(Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — Australia on Sunday said a Chinese fighter jet carried out dangerous maneuvers threatening the safety of one of its maritime surveillance planes over the South China Sea and forcing it to return to the base.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government expressed concern to China over the May 26 incident, which the Defense Ministry said took place in international airspace where a Chinese J-16 intercepted a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft on routine patrol.

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

“The J-16 … accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at very close distance,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “At that moment, it then released a bundle of chaff, which contains small pieces of aluminium, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very dangerous.”

He said the crew of the P-8 responded professionally and returned the aircraft to its base.

There was no official response Sunday from Beijing.

Such incidents are not unprecedented. A collision between a U.S. EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese air force jet in April 2001 resulted in the death of the Chinese pilot and the 10-day detention of the U.S. air crew by China.

Relations between Australia and China have been poor for years after Beijing imposed trade barriers and refused high-level exchanges in response to Canberra enacting rules targeting foreign interference in its domestic politics.

Australia and others have also sought to block Chinese inroads into the South Pacific, including Beijing’s signing of a security agreement with the Solomon Islands that could result in China’s stationing of troops and ships in the archipelago, which lies less than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coast.

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

In February, Australia said a Chinese navy ship fired a laser also at one of its Poseidon surveillance planes, illuminating it while in flight over Australia’s northern approaches and endangering the safety of the crew.

China claims the South China Sea virtually in its entirety and has been steadily ratcheting up pressure against other countries with claims to parts of the strategic waterway. That has included construction of military facilities on artificial islands and the harassment of foreign fishing vessels and military missions in the air and international sea.

Earlier this year, U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Adm. John C. Aquilino said China has fully militarized at least three of its island holdings, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and military aircraft.

The U.S. and its allies have consistently challenged the Chinese claims by staging patrols and military exercises in the area, provoking angry responses from Beijing despite agreements aimed at reducing tensions.

“We’re operating completely within our rights … most of our trade traverses the South China Sea,” Marles said. “This incident will not deter Australia from continuing to engage in these activities, which are within our rights and international law to assure that there is freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, because that is fundamentally in our nation’s interest.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
1 day ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
1 day ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
2 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Australia says China threatened plane over South China Sea