The Australian Army keeps watch over the PLA naval surveillance vessel Tianwangxing as it heads for Queensland waters off the country’s northeast coast. The ship is widely believed to be planning to observe military exercises involving Australian and US servicemen, which began this week.
He said Express.co.uk: “Australia is closely monitoring the situation and when the intelligence vessel visits our waters.
“One can very well suspect that this was a deliberate act before the Talisman Saber war games. “
While the ship was in Australia’s exclusive economic zone, it was allowed to travel in accordance with international maritime law, Abetz admitted.
However, he added, “It is hypocritical of China to practice freedom of navigation so close to our coasts while expressing strong protests against other nations who are conducting the same freedom of navigation exercises in the sea. from southern China.
“If Australia or some other country were to transit through China’s exclusive economic zone, there would be the predictable bellicose claims of the CCP dictatorship about” interference in China’s internal affairs. “
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The Tianwangxing is equipped with advanced communication systems including several domes that conceal satellite dishes.
Speaking yesterday, Vice Premier Barnaby Joyce said the ship was just one example of how China “listens” to exercises.
He told Sydney-based 2GB radio station: “Frankly, there is nothing we can do about the ship in Queensland. They can sit in international waters and do their jobs.
“But it’s a listening section and there are other sections where they’re trying to hack. “
He added, “They have computers that will basically try to break into our computers and into our secret areas and communications networks.
“But you must be wondering what’s interesting about Australia? It’s your iron ore, your gas, your vital agricultural exports and alliances and how close your platform is to the United States.
“China wants to know how well your platforms work together compared to their platforms and their military exercises. “
Talisman Saber (TS21), which takes place every two years, is a large-scale joint military exercise involving Air Force, Army and Navy personnel from both countries.
A statement posted on the Australian Department of Defense website explains: “TS21 is the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defense Forces (ADF) and the United States Army (US).
“It is designed to test our respective forces in planning and conducting combined and joint task force operations and to improve combat readiness and interoperability between Australian and US forces. “