/ 08 May 2024

China tensions flare up

Seahawk helicopter

PM Anthony Albanese says China “will be very aware” of his concerns after one of its jets dropped flares into the flight path of an Australian Navy helicopter over the weekend. HMAS Hobart was helping the UN enforce sanctions against North Korea in international waters – when a Seahawk chopper was forced to take evasive action to avoid being hit by the flares. The Defence Department labelled China’s actions “unsafe and unprofessional”, while the Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says the Prime Minister should be directly contacting President Xi Jinping. The PM says the Government’s made “strong representations” at “every level” and will raise it with China’s premier when he visits Oz in June. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded overnight, saying the Australian pilot “deliberately flew within close range of China’s airspace in a provocative move”.

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