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Australia says Chinese spy ship sighted close to west coast

By By AP Reporters
Australian defence minister Peter Dutton (AP)

Australia’s defence minister has said a Chinese warship with spying capabilities had been tracked along the nation’s western coastline in what amounted to an “aggressive act”.

Peter Dutton said the ship was sighted on Friday morning heading north about 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia, and had been hugging the coastline for the past week.

“Its intention, of course, is to collect intelligence right along the coastline,” Mr Dutton said.

“It has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia.”

He said it was without precedent for a Chinese warship to venture so far south and that authorities were monitoring the ship closely with planes and surveillance techniques.

I think it is an aggressive actPeter Dutton

He said he wanted to be open and honest with Australians about the situation.

“I think it is an aggressive act, and I think particularly because it has come so far south,” Mr Dutton said.

Tensions between China and Australia have been heightened recently after China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands.

Australians will go to the polls in eight days to vote in a general election. Mr Dutton said the timing of his announcement had nothing to do with the election campaign.

Australia’s defence force identified the ship as a Dongdiao Class Auxiliary Intelligence ship named Haiwangxing.

“Australia respects the right of all states to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace, just as we expect others to respect our right to do the same,” the defence force said in a statement.

“Defence will continue to monitor the ship’s operation in our maritime approaches.”

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Dive Deeper:
Australia says Chinese spy ship has been hugging west coast
Australia’s defense minister says a Chinese warship with spying capabilities has been hugging the western coastline in what amounts to…
‘Aggressive act’: Australia says it tracked Chinese spy ship
Defence Minister Peter Dutton says ship hugged western coastline travelling in Australia’s EEZ.
Australia Says Chinese Spy Ship’s Presence off West Coast ‘Concerning’
A Chinese intelligence ship was tracked off Australia's west coast within 50 nautical miles of a sensitive defense facility, Australia…
It’s unprecedented for Dutton to label a Chinese spy ship sailing outside Australia’s territory ‘an aggressive act’
International law experts say ‘this is not an act of aggression and is in fact fairly standard activity for navies’
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Defence Minister Peter Dutton says a Chinese spy ship has been seen near secretive naval facility off Western Australia
A high-tech Chinese surveillance ship has been tracked off the West Australian coast, close to a secretive naval communications base…
Australia says Chinese spy ship did not breach law of the sea
A Chinese intelligence ship tracked off Australia's west coast within 50 nautical miles of a sensitive defence facility did not…
Get all your news in one place