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Australia says Chinese warship off western coast amounts to ‘aggressive act’

China says Aussie politicians should ‘not make sensational remarks’

AUSTRALIA’S defence minister said yesterday that a Chinese warship with spying capabilities had been hugging the nation’s western coastline in what amounted to an “aggressive act.”

Minister Peter Dutton said the ship was sighted Friday morning heading north about 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia, and had been tracked along the coastline for the past week.

“Its intention, of course, is to collect intelligence right along the coastline,” Mr Dutton said. “It has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia.”

He said it was without precedent for a Chinese warship to venture so far south and that authorities were monitoring the ship closely.

Asked about the ship sighting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he had no information about the specific situation, but that “China always abides by international law and international practice.”

“The relevant Australian politician should see the relevant situation objectively and calmly, and not make sensational remarks,” Mr Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

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