Australian PM slams China for shining laser at aircraft

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday slammed China’s use of a laser against on of his country’s surveillance aircraft.

The Australian Defense Force (ADF) confirmed the incident on Saturday. It said a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was illuminated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) laser, potentially endangering lives.

The Chinese naval vessel responsible for what Morrison called “a dangerous act” was traveling alongside another Chinese naval vessel off the coast of northern Australia in the country’s exclusive economic zone last Thursday.

What did Morrison say?

In a press briefing Sunday Morrison said, “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.”

He said the laser had the potential to disable the aircraft and place those inside in harm’s way. Morrison added that the issue had been raised through the appropriate diplomatic and defense channels.

He also cited his country’s recent signing of a defense pact with the US and the UK, dubbed AUKUS.

Morrison said his government will demand answers from Beijing.

‘Aggressive bullying acts’

Also on Sunday, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News, “I think the Chinese government is hoping that nobody talks about these aggressive bullying acts.”

The Australian Defense Ministry said the Chinese ships were headed east through the Arafura Sea at the time of the incident.

Previously in 2019, Australia accused China of using lasers against its helicopters in the South China Sea.

ar/fb (AFP, Reuters)

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