China has urged Australian politicians to stop being fearmongers after the defense minister said a Chinese warship sighted off Australia’s west coast was an “act of aggression”.
Minister Peter Dutton claimed on Friday that the ship, which had intelligence-gathering capabilities, entered Australia’s exclusive economic zone in an “aggressive act” by China.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison later clarified that the ship had only been sighted about 250 nautical miles off the coast of Western Australia and had not entered Australian waters.
But Mr Morrison reiterated that the incident was unusual and that Australia was “keeping a close eye” on China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to the claims, telling Reuters news agency that China always abides by international law and Australian politicians should ‘refrain from fearmongering’. .
Meanwhile, Mr Dutton attacked Labor leader Anthony Albanese amid reports the Federal Government had delayed briefing the opposition on the US submarine deal.
Senior Biden administration officials told the Morrison administration four and a half months before the announcement that it would only proceed with the AUKUS project if it had bipartisan support, Nine Newspapers reported on Saturday.
Federal labor was only told of the deal the day before the Sept. 16 announcement, Mr. Albanese said, which was “extraordinary.”
AUKUS briefing disputed
“The fact that the United States made a request to Australia which was ignored for four and a half months shows that this is a Prime Minister who always plays short-term politics (and) does not is not interested in the national interest,” Mr. Albanese told reporters on Saturday.
Mr Dutton hit back, saying it was the Labor leader who was playing politics.
“If Mr. Albanese had a problem with the way the briefings were conducted and the way information was provided to him, he had ample opportunity … to raise it publicly,” Mr. Dutton told reporters on Saturday. .
“I think his comments today are quite reckless.
“If the United States had made the AUKUS deal conditional on holding a briefing for the Australian Labor Party, it is clear that the deal would not have gone through. So the United States did not impose that.
“I think Mr Albanese frankly owes the Australian public an apology for misleading the public today.”