Two Chinese naval vessels were sailing off the north coast of Australia on Thursday when one of them targeted an Australian surveillance aircraft with a laser, which could “endanger lives,” the Australian Department of Health said.
“I do not consider it necessary to comment on such fabrications,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton went on to condemn the “most aggressive act”. “I think the Chinese government hopes that no one will talk about these aggressive threats,” he told Sky News television on Sunday.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the ships were heading north of the Australian coastal city of Darwin and eastward into the Arabian Sea off the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Chinese officials have not responded to Australian allegations at this stage.
China has previously accused Canberra of targeting Australian military aircraft in 2019 with military-grade lasers. Air Force helicopters have been targeted in the South China Sea, where tensions have been high for years.
China actually claims ownership of this entire ocean, which passes through billions of dollars in trade each year. The area, which is rich in natural resources, is also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
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