Canberra: Australia on Sunday slammed China over its interception of a maritime surveillance flight in the international airspace in the South China Sea region.
According to The Guardian, the defence department has revealed the interception of a “routine maritime surveillance activity” and claimed that it resulted in a “dangerous manoeuvre” that risked the safety of the Australian aircraft and its crew.
The incident occurred on May 26, five days after the federal election took place in Australia.
The Defence said, “A RAAF P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter aircraft during a routine maritime surveillance activity in international airspace in the South China Sea region.
“The intercept resulted in a dangerous manoeuvre which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew. “The Australian government has raised its concerns about the incident with the Chinese government.”
Defence Minister Richard Marles pointed out that the Chinese aircraft “flew very close to the side of the (Australia) P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft”. It also “released flares”.
He said, “The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at very close distance.
“At that moment, it then released a bundle of chaff, which contains small pieces of aluminium, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8 aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very dangerous.”