After an argument with an Australian vessel that left one person hurt, Australian Defense Minister Anthony Albanese has accused a Chinese military ship of behaving in a “dangerous, unsafe, and unprofessional” manner.
However, the prime minister has refused to acknowledge whether he discussed the matter directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Apec summit that took place the previous week. Instead, he has just stated that the government has voiced its displeasure through “all the forums that are available.”
On Saturday, the Minister of Defence Richard Marles stated that three divers from the HMAS Toowoomba had been injured, and it is believed that their injuries were caused by sonar pulses that were fired by a Chinese war ship on Tuesday in international waters off coast of Japan. The representative from California stated that he was “very concerned” about the situation.
“As a direct result of the actions taken by China, one person was hurt,” Albanese stated.
“This is the kind of incident I’ve spoken about… why we need communication and guard rails, and why we need to avoid reckless events like this one,” she said. This is the reason why we have raised our serious concerns with China.
“This is one of those times when we disagree with China… this kind of event should not take place,” said the United States.
Albanese mentioned their encounter on Thursday, saying that it took place at the Apec meeting in San Francisco. The marine incident took place on Tuesday, but it wasn’t announced until Saturday, after Albanese had already left the Apec meeting. On the other hand, when asked multiple times on Monday if he had brought up the matter with Xi, the prime minister repeatedly sidestepped the question.
“I can guarantee you that we brought up these issues in a manner that was proper, extremely explicit, and unequivocally stated. “There is no confusion on China’s part regarding Australia’s stance on this issue,” Albanese stated on Sky.
The opposition within the Coalition stated that Albanese ought to have had a straight conversation about the subject with Xi.
“[Albanese] would have known this happened, and he has boasted about the time that he spent with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, while he was there. He also boasted about the time that he spent with Xi Jinping. However, did he ask you this question? questioned James Paterson, who is the shadow minister for home affairs.
“He hasn’t said so, and if he’s not saying so, it would appear that the answer is that he didn’t.”
The office of Mr. Albanese was asked for a response on whether or not the matter was brought up during the Apec meeting.
The Toowoomba had sent divers to remove fishing nets that had become tangled in its propellers when, according to the statement made by Marles, a nearby Chinese war ship approached and was detected working its hull-mounted sonar. The Toowoomba had sent ship divers to remove the fishing nets that had become tangled in its propellers. According to what the Minister of Defense revealed on Saturday, several divers received minor injuries, most likely as a result of being exposed to sonar pulses.
The event occurs at a time when the federal government of Australia is talking up Australia’s thawing relationship with China. This follows on the heels of billions of dollars’ worth of trade barriers being lifted by Beijing, as well as a re-engagement through diplomatic channels in the wake of Albanese’s visit earlier this month.
Kevin Rudd, the ambassador of Australia to the United States, recently stated on Radio National that it is “longstanding practice” not to comment on the content of discussions that take place between world leaders. Rudd referred to the inquiry as a “distraction” from the larger sonar issue, pointing out that the government had already made its strong criticisms known to the public.
Clare O’Neil, the minister for home affairs, refused to answer explicitly when asked whether Anthony Albanese had brought up the subject with Xi. Instead, she stated that “the matter has been handled through the appropriate channels.”
“The government of Australia has taken a firm stand against what they see as an intolerable act that has put the lives of those who have sworn to defend our nation while wearing a uniform in jeopardy. “That is something that is taken very seriously by all of us here,” she stated during a press conference.
O’Neil responded that Australia would not “play politics with our relationship” when asked what the event indicated for the government’s hopes of further warming ties with China.
“China will not be moving in any direction… In our region over the next many decades, she continued, “we are going to have to find a way to coexist with one another.”
“The effective management of this relationship will continue to be a primary focus for us.”
In a message she made on social media, Deputy Liberal Leader Sussan Ley voiced her disapproval of the reaction provided by the administration.
“‘Cooperate where we can, disagree where we must’ should never mean stage managing CCP aggression that injures our ADF personnel,” she said, referring to a familiar phrase that Albanese uses when discussing the relationship with China. “Cooperate where we can, disagree where we must”
“More weak leadership from Anthony Albanese, who appears to be prioritizing photo ops with Xi Jingping over speaking up for our people,” said the opposition leader. “More photo ops with Xi Jingping.”
“Our relationship with China is both complicated and significant, and Australia is working hard to find a way to make it more stable. But we should never compromise our interests for the sake of that process, and the prime minister has stated on multiple occasions that we will disagree when it is necessary,” he said in a statement to the media.
“One of the areas in which we should disagree is when the People’s Liberation Army Navy does deliberate harm to our Australian Navy ship divers, as they did last week in international waters in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.”