A Chinese spy ship has been detected off the Australian coast near joint war games underway between the United States, New Zealand and Australian militaries, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said on Saturday.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy Type 815 Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence vessel was operating off the northeast coast during the Talisman Sabre war games, the ADF said in a statement.
The Chinese ship remained outside Australian territorial waters but was inside the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone in the Coral Sea, it said.
"The vessel’s presence has not detracted from the exercise objectives. Australia respects the rights of all states to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters in accordance with international law," the statement said.
More than 30,000 troops from the United States, New Zealand and Australia are taking part in biennial war games, which end in late July.
China's growing military presence, particularly in the disputed South China Sea, has raised tensions with regional neighbours and drawn criticism from both the United States and Australia.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Australia's conservative government on course for ‘miracle’ election victory
Australian former PM Bob Hawke dead at 89
Aussie PM launches official campaign six days out from polls
Tears, insults as media’s role in Aussie election questioned
Australian woman charged with torturing animals after pelican kidnap Sydney
Assange jailed for 50 weeks for UK bail breach
Aussie scientists find antidote for deadly box jellyfish sting
Australian court finds man guilty of plotting to blow up airliner
Australian PM promises migration cut, refugee freeze if re-elected