BEIJING (XINHUA, REUTERS) – A Chinese defence spokesman on Thursday (June 30) responded to provocative acts of Australian and Canadian military aircraft, and warned that those who come uninvited would bear the consequences.
Mr Tan Kefei, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence, made the remarks in response to Australia and Canada’s hyping up of the so-called interceptions of their military aircraft by the Chinese military.
He said the Chinese side was justified in taking forceful response measures and handled the situation in a safe and professional manner.
He said the Australian military aircraft entered the airspace close to the Paracel Islands, also known as Xisha Islands, in the South China Sea for close-in reconnaissance, and continuously approached the island’s territorial airspace, disregarding China’s repeated warnings.
The Canadian military aircraft, meanwhile, increased close-in reconnaissance and made provocations to the Chinese side in the name of implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions, undermining China’s national security, he added.
Earlier last month, Australia said a Chinese fighter aircraft dangerously intercepted an Australian military surveillance plane in the South China Sea region in May.
The Royal Australian Air Force P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter during “routine maritime surveillance activity” in international airspace in the region on May 26, the defence department said in a statement on June 5.
“The intercept resulted in a dangerous manoeuvre which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew,” it said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters in Perth that his government had expressed concerns to China “through appropriate channels”.
Meanwhile, Canada’s military had accused Chinese warplanes of harassing its patrol aircraft as they monitor North Korea sanction evasions, sometimes forcing Canadian planes to divert from their flight paths.
On several occasions from April 26 to May 26, aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) approached a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft, the Canadian Armed Forces said on June 1.
On Thursday, China’s Mr Tan said that his country firmly opposes the acts of the Australian and Canadian military aircrafts and urges relevant countries to stop spreading disinformation.
He also urged those countries to stop activities that endanger China’s national security and raise tensions in the air and sea, and take concrete actions to safeguard regional peace and stability.
China would surely take countermeasures in response to each of such provocations, and those who come uninvited would bear the consequences, said Mr Tan.