China Warns Australia 11/28 06:47
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- A visiting Chinese official on Tuesday warned
Australia to act with "great prudence" in deploying warships in the South China
Sea after a recent confrontation between the two navies.
Liu Jianchao, the Chinese Communist Party's international minister, gave the
warning while speaking at a Sydney university during a trip that paves the way
for President Xi Jinping's Australian visit, expected to take place next year.
Bilateral relations had been improving recently, but took a downturn when
Australia accused the Chinese destroyer CNS Ningbo of injuring Australian navy
divers with sonar pulses in Japanese waters on Nov. 14. Australia said China
disregarded a safety warning to keep away from the Australian frigate HMAS
Liu reiterated China's position that the encounter happened outside Japanese
territorial waters and that the Chinese warship caused no harm.
"We do urge the Australian government and also the military to act with
great prudence in this area," Liu said at the University of Technology Sydney.
"Such a small incident could really escalate if it's not properly managed,"
The Toowoomba went on to further antagonize Beijing by passing southward
from Japan through the contested Taiwan Strait last week.
Liu said Australia was making a statement through the maneuver that it was
The U.S., Canadian and Australian militaries have complained multiple times
about what they say have been dangerous actions by the Chinese navy and air
force in the western Pacific. Analysts fear a collision or other accident could
spark an international incident and escalate into conflict.
Liu's visits comes after Anthony Albanese recently became Australia's first
prime minister to visit China in seven years.