Chinese Navy confronts Australian warships in the South China Sea after sailing near Beijing-claimed islands – as tensions between the two nations escalate
- The Chinese Navy confronted Australian warships in the South China Sea last week
- Australian ships were near the Spratly Islands when the incident occurred
- Ships are in the region on their way to military war games with Japan and the US.
The Chinese Navy and Australian warships were in conflict last week after a confrontation in the South China Sea.
The Australian ships sailed close to the Spratly Islands – claimed by Beijing and the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam – when the incident occurred, the ABC reported.
Australian warships – including HMAS Canberra, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Stuart, HMAS Arunta, and HMAS Sirius – are practicing in the region prior to military war games off the coast of Hawaii with the U.S. and Japan.
The Chinese Navy and Australian warships (pictured) were involved in a confrontation last week after a confrontation in the South China Sea
“Unplanned interactions with foreign warships during the deployment were conducted in a safe and professional manner,” Defense said in a statement.
Australia is committed to a safe, open, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific region. We routinely work with regional partners to address shared security concerns, “said a Defense spokesman.
“Activities performed during this routine deployment are part of the regular military-military operations of the Australian Defense Force across the Indo-Pacific, which are conducted each year.”
Beijing claims most of the South China Sea based on the “nine dashed line,” a vague demarcation that dates back to the 1940s.
The Australian ships sailed close to the Spratly Islands – claimed by Beijing and the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam – when the incident occurred
Beijing has built military bases for years on artificial islands in the area, which is home to valuable oil and gas supplies and is an essential commercial waterway.
Earlier this month, China accused the US of “sailing the world like a bully” after two aircraft carriers, the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan, were forcibly dispatched to the region.
Hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled Beijing’s allegation of water as “completely illegal,” the Chinese embassy in Washington retaliated by accusing Donald Trump’s government of “flexing muscles, generating tension, and provoking confrontation.” with a “completely unjustified” attack.