3 min 6 mths

An Australian maritime patrol aircraft was lased by a Chinese warship as it monitored two naval vessels in the Arafura Sea.

The Australian Defence Department released a statement saying the P-8A Poseidon observed the vessel illuminate the aircraft while flying over Australia’s northern approaches.

The ADD condemned the “serious safety incident” that had the potential to “endanger lives”, describing it as “unsafe military conduct.”

The incident occurred on February 17, 2022, as two People’s Liberation Army Navy ships sailed through the Arafura Sea.

The P-8A is an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare plane. It detected the laser emanating from the Luyang-class guided-missile destroyer, which was escorting a Yuzhao-class amphibious transport dock vessel. The ships passed through the Torres Strait and are now in the Coral Sea, northeast of Australia.

While the ADD has highlighted the recklessness of the PLA’s actions, the ship was certainly acting under instructions. The Arafura Sea and the Torres Strait occupy Australia’s northern approaches. The incident represents a direct provocation by the PLA. It comes at a time when both major parties are touting their toughness on China in the run-up to the federal election.

As America and NATO ramp up rhetoric over Ukraine, in a direct challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin, tensions are rising in the region.

Nationalists say that it is time to end our subservient relationship with the U.S. and the global order that it oversees. While the U.S. talks tough on both Russia and China, the reality is that the former superpower is in decline. A corrupt Democratic administration has led to what many believe is the start of a second American civil war.

Australia must aim for armed neutrality and independence. We must concern ourselves with our own borders and waters. The Chinese incursion into our backyard is clearly a hostile action.