A handout photo taken on February 18, 2022 and received on February 20, 2022 shows a Chinese PLA-N Luyang-class guided missile destroyer (L) and a PLA-N Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel (R) leaving the Torres Strait and entering the Coral Sea Photograph:( AFP )
The incident has taken place off northern Australia. Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia has characterised this as an act of intimidation by China
An incident of Chinese naval vessel illuminating an Australian military aircraft with laser has been termed as an act of intimidation by Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister. The actual incident took place on Thursday.
A P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was illuminated on Thursday while flying over Australia's northern approaches by a laser from a People's Liberation Army–Navy (PLA-N) vessel, potentially endangering lives, the defence department said.
PM Morrison said that his government will demand answers from China.
"I can see it no other way than an act of intimidation, one (...) unprovoked, unwarranted," Morrison said at a briefing. "And Australia will never accept such acts of intimidation."
Defence Minister Peter Dutton called the incident "a very aggressive act" that took place in Australia's exclusive economic zone.
"I think the Chinese government is hoping that nobody talks about these aggressive bullying acts," Dutton told Sky News television. "We're seeing different forms of it right across the region and in many parts of the world."
The Chinese vessel was sailing east with another PLA-N ship through the Arafura Sea at the time of the incident, the department said. The sea lies between the north coast of Australia and the south coast of New Guinea.
Relations between Australia and China, its top trade partner, soured after Canberra banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from its 5G broadband network in 2018, toughened laws against foreign political interference, and urged an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
(With inputs from agencies)