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Chinese warship tracked off WA coast

By Andrew Brown
Peter Dutton says a Chinese warship is being tracked off the WA coast, heading north. (AAP)

A Chinese warship has been tracked off the coast of Western Australian, Defence Minister Peter Dutton has revealed.

Mr Dutton said the ship, which has intelligence gathering capabilities, had come into Australia's exclusive economic zone and was "hugging the coastline".

Speaking at a press conference on Perth, Mr Dutton said the ship was sighted on Friday at 6am, about 250 nautical miles northwest of Broome.

"It is unusual in terms of the way in which it has come so far south, and the way it's hugging the coastline as it heads up in the direction of Darwin," he said.

"It is an aggressive act particularly because it has come so far south - for it to come south of Exmouth is without precedent."

Mr Dutton said Australian authorities were monitoring the situation closely.

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