People’s Liberation Army (Navy) General Intelligence Ship Tianwangxing (AGI-797) transits through the Arafura Sea, approximately 40 nautical miles north of the Tiwi Islands on July 10, 2021. (Australian Department of Defence) Beijing’s decision to spy on the U.S.-Australian wargames is a sign the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is keeping an “eye” on Australia and its democratic allies, according to experts.
The comments follow recent reports that two Chinese spy ships were headed towards the Australian coast to monitor Talisman Sabre, the largest biennial training exercise between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the United States military.
“The message Beijing is sending, particularly to Australians, is that we’ve got eyes on you and are watching very closely. I think for a nation of Australia’s size, it’s a little destabilising,” Joseph Siracusa, adjunct professor of the history of international diplomacy at Curtin University, said.
“Keep in mind right now, they (Australian ministers) can’t get anywhere in China, or have any minister pick up the phone,” he told The Epoch Times. “The fact that (the CCP) is sending military ships to gather information and attract attention. I mean, there’s a bit of an irony here, you know, China isn’t paying attention to Australia politically, but militarily it’s paying a great deal of attention.”
On July 18, Beijing dispatched a second surveillance vessel—Haiwangxing, also known as Neptune—to the coast of Queensland to observe Talisman Sabre.
It follows the arrival of Tianwangxing, or Uranus, on July 16, where it stationed itself inside Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. There it can legally remain unless it engages in fishing activities. People’s Liberation Army (Navy) General Intelligence Ship Tianwangxing (AGI-797) transits through the Arafura Sea on the morning of July 11, 2021. (Supplied: Australian Department of Defence) Chinese spy ships have been present at previous iterations of Talisman Sabre in 2017 and 2019. However, the arrival of a second vessel caught the Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton by surprise.
“We are surprised there are two vessels, but obviously, the Chinese have made a decision to have a greater presence,” he told reporters on July 19. “We would expect them to operate and conduct themselves […]
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