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Defense Secretary Peter Dutton has said the proximity of the Chinese vessel Dongdiao AI-792 to the Australian coast was a deliberate intelligence-gathering act.

“It is intended to gather intelligence along the coastline, in close proximity to military and intelligence agencies on Australia’s west coast,” Dutton said.

“It was quoted as being 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome and northeast at 12 knots at 0600 this morning. It’s unusual in terms of the way it got that far south and the way it hugs the coastline as it goes up.” towards Darwin.

“We will continue to monitor that. We have clearly had a number of aircraft involved in guarding this particular ship.”

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