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China rejects Australian allegations over warship encounter as 'completely unfounded'

Xinhua | November 22, 2023


China has rejected Australian allegations of a Chinese warship engaging in "unsafe and unprofessional" behavior while interacting with an Australian vessel as completely unfounded.

China vehemently opposes the "baseless" Australian comments, and has lodged solemn representations with the Australian side, said Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, on Monday.

Wu said that the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba was operating in waters near the East China Sea, where the Chinese destroyer Ningbo took measures such as tracking, monitoring, identification, and verification in accordance with the law and regulations.

The Chinese vessel strictly adhered to international rules such as the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, having maintained a safe distance from the Australian vessel and not engaged in any activity that might affect Australian diving operations, Wu added.

In response to the Australian remarks that "HMAS Toowoomba was in international waters inside of Japan's exclusive economic zone," the spokesperson emphasized that there is no demarcation between China and Japan in the relevant waters and that China's military activities did not take place within or enter Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Wu called on Australian side to respect the facts and cease making reckless and irresponsible accusations against China. He also urged Australia to engage in actions that would enhance mutual trust and contribute to the positive development of relations between the two countries and their militaries.