First image emerges of Australia’s encounter with a Chinese spy ship as it heads towards the Queensland coast
- Image shows Chinese spy ship heading for Australia
- The Australian Army deployed a plane to call the ship.
- The ship was observing Exercise Talisman Saber
An aerial photograph has emerged showing an RAAF P-8 Poseidon aircraft flying over a Chinese surveillance ship as it headed towards Australia last week.
The ABC published the photo, taken from another Australian military aircraft, which captures the RAAF P-8 Poseidon aircraft flying over the Chinese surveillance ship as it en route to Australia.
On Sunday, the Chinese ship, which had the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet designation No. 793, was believed to be located off the Queensland coast as far south as Shoalwater Bay.
He was attempting to gather intelligence on the international exercise Talisman Saber, the largest biennial multinational military exercise led by Australian and US troops.
The head of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, explained that he sent the P-8 Poseidon aircraft to make contact with the vessel.
“We reached out on Thursday and called that ship in the Coral Sea,” he said.
It will move down, I hope, and either join the exercise, or be back at the location of the exercise. They have done this for several years. We are well prepared for it.
An image has emerged of a Chinese surveillance ship heading towards the Australian coast to watch the Talisman Saber exercise as an Australian military plane flies overhead and listens.
General Bilton believes the ship will likely remain off the Queensland coast to observe military activities before leaving.
There is a possibility it could sail towards the Northern Territory coast.
General Bilton said the ship will comply with international law by keeping some distance from the coast.
“It will remain outside of our contiguous zones, so 24 nautical miles beyond, that’s consistent with international law: their (PLAN’s) behavior in previous exercises has been exactly that and I don’t expect it to change,” he told ABC.
Defense Minister Richard Marles stressed that the ship was following international law and was not a concern.
“They are acting in accordance with international law, so this is to be expected,” Marles told Weekend Today on Saturday.
“For us, it’s really about our ability and our ability and it’s very much about our ability to work with other countries, our friends and allies, and particularly the United States.”
Beijing has regularly sent Chinese spy ships to observe Exercise Talisman Saber since 2013.
The Chinese spy ship (pictured) was spotted in the waters last week, and the Chief of Joint Operations, Lt. Gen. Greg Bilton, sent a plane to call it on Thursday.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the ship is “acting in accordance with international law” as it was seen entering the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast.
The vice premier added that the Exercise Talisman Saber drills were not a simulation of war against China or any other nation, but rather a cooperative operation between allies.
“You don’t have a capable Defense Force unless you’re fit and you’re not fit unless you train,” he said.
“It’s the most important exercise we do, in terms of certifying all the capabilities and skills that exist within the Australian Defense Force.”
Exercise Talisman Saber is Australia’s largest military training show and will continue for the next two weeks.
Australia is joined in the exercises by Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.