Australia has accused the Chinese military of employing sonar pulses in a situation in international waters that injured Australian divers.
During the incident off the coast of Japan earlier this week, a Chinese warship engaged in “unsafe and unprofessional” behaviour, per Australia’s defence minister.
According to him, the battleship approached an Australian frigate while divers cleaned fishing nets from its propellers. The Chinese vessel then emitted harmful sonar pulses, per the minister.
Richard Marles, the Defence Minister, said that this constituted a risk to the safety of the Australian divers, who were compelled to exit the water.
Marles stated that the divers received minor wounds, most likely triggered by the sonar. He said that all countries, including China, are expected to manage their armed forces professionally and safely.
According to the statement, Australia’s long-range frigate HMAS Toowoomba had indicated its intention to perform diving operations using standard maritime channels and globally recognised signals. The Chinese government has made no statement.
High levels of underwater sound, per the Diving Medical Advisory Committee, a London-based organisation, can cause hearing damage, dizziness, or other injuries to divers.
The incident occurred in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone on Tuesday. Marles stated that HMAS Toowoomba was undertaking operations in support of the UN sanctions enforcement.
Earlier this month, Australian PM Anthony Albanese made a historic trip to China, hailing “significant progress” in Pacific relations.
However, tensions persist, particularly over security. Australia is concerned about China’s growing aggressiveness in the Asia-Pacific area.
To offset potential Chinese threats, Canberra has recently strengthened its military relationship with the US and revamped its defence posture.
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