Australia Accuses Chinese Fighter Jets of Executing Dangerous Maneuver

Australia has accused China of engaging in dangerous and unprofessional contact after the intercept of an ADF helicopter by one of its jets in international seas on May 4.

According to a statement made the following day by the Australian Department of Defence, a fighter aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force discharged flares across the helicopter’s flight path.

While on patrol in the Yellow Sea to enforce sanctions on North Korea, the Royal Australian Navy air warfare ship HMAS Hobart was flying the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter.

The statement said that this move was very risky and might have caused harm to both the airplane and the persons on board. It is the expectation of Australia that all nations, including China, conduct their forces in a responsible and secure way.

The ministry reported no injuries or impairment of the aircraft as a consequence of the incident.

The Chinese fighter jet let out the flares 200 feet above the chopper and a thousand feet in front of it.  The Australian Defense Minister, Richard Marles, made a statement that was broadcast by local media, explaining that the aircraft had to take evasive measures to escape the flares.

Similar events occurred last October with a Canadian marine patrol aircraft that was implementing sanctions on North Korea, and the recent occurrence seems reminiscent of them. Canadian media video showed the PLAAF fighter doing irregular, close-quarters maneuvers, and Ottawa reported the jet sent flares.

A Chinese vessel reportedly injured Australian naval divers using close-range sonar pings, according to Canberra’s report from last November.  The divers were stationed on an Australian ship that had been assisting with North Korean sanctions in international seas close to Japan.

A region that Beijing views as its doorstep, China has accused the United States and its allies of instigating conflict in these waters.

Despite China’s history of backing sanctions aimed at reducing North Korea’s nuclear development, the five-veto-wielding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council has lately blocked moves to further tighten or impose more restrictions.

Sanctions are to be enforced by the United Nations. China has not only ignored and refused to enforce the UNSCRs, but it has also tried to hinder other nations, like the US, Australia, and Canada, from carrying out their responsibilities in this regard, according to the Asia Society Policy Institute.