Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Chinese military vessel shining a laser at an Australian maritime aircraft was an “act of intimidation” that put Defence Force lives at risk.
Defense authorities strongly condemned “the unprofessional and unsafe military conduct.”
“These actions could have endangered the safety and lives of the ADF personnel. Such actions are not in keeping with the standards we expect of professional militaries. Acts like this have the potential to endanger lives,” defense authorities said.
According to reports, the incident occurred at 12:35 am on Thursday when a RAAF P-8A Poseidon patrol plane, with ten personnel on board, detected a military-grade laser illuminating the aircraft while in flight just north of Australia.
“I’m very concerned about the actions of using the lasers. That is, I can see it no other way than an act of intimidation, one that was unprovoked, unwarranted, and Australia will never accept such acts of intimidation,” Morrison said.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the incident was an example of “aggressive bullying” by the Chinese military.
“It can result in the blindness of the crew, it can obviously result in damage of equipment,” Dutton added.
Both Chinese ships have since transited through the Torres Strait and are in the Coral Sea.
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