Beijing hits back at Australia after Chinese plane intercepted spy plane in ‘dangerous’ stunt

Beijing has retaliated against Australia after the country shot down a Chinese fighter jet for intercepting one of its spy planes in a “very dangerous” mid-air incident, forcing Anthony Albanian to fly to Indonesia to discuss regional security.

It was revealed on Sunday that an RAAF P-8A Poseidon aircraft was providing maritime surveillance in the South China Sea when it was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter plane on May 26.

Defense Secretary Richard Marles called it a “dangerous manoeuvre,” while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese raised concerns directly with China.

The Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, published an op-ed accusing Australia of acting as a ‘little bully’.

Rising tensions between the two countries have prompted Mr Albanian to make a trip to Jakarta on Monday to meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, with the couple discussing pressing issues such as trade, climate change and regional security.

It was announced on Sunday that an RAAF P-8A Poseidon aircraft was conducting maritime surveillance in the South China Sea when it was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter jet on May 26 (photo, stock image of a P-8 Poseidon)

Defense Secretary Richard Marles called it a

Defense Secretary Richard Marles called it a “dangerous maneuver” by the J-16 fighter jet, while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese raised concerns directly with the Chinese government (photo, stock image of a J-16 fighter jet)

The Global Times claimed that the Australian government failed to answer several questions about the South China Sea operation.

‘For example, where exactly in the South China Sea is the area where the incident took place?’ it reads.

‘How far is it from the Chinese islands and reefs in the region? What is their purpose here? Besides, what was the Australian military plane doing before the interception?’

The media outlet said this was Australia’s latest claim in its campaign of “baseless” accusations against China.

On February 17, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) said a Chinese naval vessel pointed a laser at a P-8A Poseidon as it flew over Australia’s northern approaches.

The incident was dealt with harshly and the ADF warned it could have endangered the safety and lives of their staff.

The Global Times claimed there was evidence that the P-8A flew too close to the Chinese ship and said the Australian military had become a “blackmail professional.”

The Global Times said this was Australia's latest claim in its campaign of 'baseless' accusations against China

The Global Times said this was Australia’s latest claim in its campaign of ‘baseless’ accusations against China

This time, Marles also posed as ‘the weak one’ and said in front of a reporter’s microphone that Australia will not be deterred by China’s intimidation,’ the article read.

“This is clearly a tone favored by American and Western journalists, and Australian politicians are well versed in it and choose what they want to hear.”

AUSTRALI VS CHINA TRADE WAR

In October 2020, China imposed informal bans on Australian cotton and coal.

A month later, Australian sugar, barley, lobster, wine, copper and timber were added to the list.

Six meat processors were no longer allowed to export beef to China.

In December 2020, Australia filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over China’s 80.5 percent tariffs on its barley exports.

In the filing, Australia claimed that China deviated from WTO rules 26 times.

In March 2021, China imposed excise duties between 116.2 percent and 218.4 percent on Australian wine, making it too expensive for Chinese consumers.

This effectively killed the market.

The op-ed said ‘Canberra’s approach’ was ‘inappropriate and unwise’ as China ‘had never posed a threat to Australia’

“Judging by the two recent incidents involving the ship and the plane, we must remind Canberra that Sinophobia is doing Australia more harm than good,” it said.

“It has been proven time and again that the more ‘conscientious’ Canberra acts for Washington, the easier the former will become a springboard.”

Mr Marles said that surveillance over the South China Sea is “fully within our rights under international law”.

“This is a body of water that is closely linked to Australia because of our trade, which goes through it,” he said.

“We have lodged a protest with the Chinese government, but we will not be deterred in the future from the activities to which we are entitled under international law.”

Marles said the crew was unharmed, they responded to the incident professionally and returned the plane to base.

“What happened was that the J-16 plane flew very close to the side of the P-8 marine surveillance plane,” he said.

“By flying close to the side, it released flares and the J-16 accelerated and cut right through the nose of the P-8, landing a very short distance in front of the P-8.

“At that moment a bundle of chaff containing small pieces of aluminum was released, part of which ended up in the engine of the P-8 aircraft.”

Australian-China relations have struggled since April 2020, when then Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on World Health Organization researchers in Wuhan to be given the same powers as UN-backed weapons inspectors.

The WHO was investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, a virus that effectively forced the world into a two-year lockdown.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and Defense Secretary Richard Marles (right) both criticized an incident between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian surveillance plane

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and Defense Secretary Richard Marles (right) both criticized an incident between a Chinese fighter jet and an Australian surveillance plane

In November 2020, it emerged that the Chinese embassy in Canberra had drawn up what became known as the ‘list of grievances’ – 14 black spots that were China’s reasons for the bad blood with Australia.

The list included: ‘The incessant wanton meddling in China’s… business’; ‘outrageous condemnation of China’s ruling party’; and ‘an unfriendly or hostile media coverage of China’.

In January, three months before he became prime minister, Mr Albanese said Australia’s relationship with China would remain difficult.

“Whoever is in government, it will be a difficult relationship,” he said.

“It’s going to be difficult because China’s attitude has changed.”

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