Chinese Spy Ship Spotted Close To Secretive Naval Facility Off Australia’s Western Coast

Australian defence minister Peter Dutton said that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been tracking a Chinese spy ship since last week after it was tracked off the West Australian coast. The spy ship was seen close to a secretive naval communications base that provides support to submarines owned by the US and Australia’s defence allies.

Dutton said that the spy ship – or the auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) vessel – was closely monitored by the ADF as it was sailing past the Harold E Holt naval station at Exmouth.

“Its intent, of course, is to collect intelligence right along the coastline. It has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia,” Dutton was quoted as saying by Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC.

Dutton also expressed concern that the ship travelled this far south and while heading back north towards the city of Darwin it almost hugged the coastline. He said that this was a strange matter and expected that the ship was gathering as much information as possible.

“I think people understand the difficulty, the reality, of the Indo-Pacific at the moment, the acts of aggression from the Chinese leadership and from the Chinese government,” Dutton said, while denying that he was revealing the information to woo votes by stoking national security fears ahead of the federal election on May 21.

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He said that Australians deserve to know what is taking place.

This is the second time that Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Navy have made moves which could endanger Australia’s security.

Earlier this year, the Australian government revealed that a Chinese naval vessel pointed a laser at an Australian defence plane. At the same time it was also revealed that a Chinese guided missile destroyer and an amphibious transport dock were sailing east through the Arafura Sea between New Guinea and Australia, close enough to be spotted from the Australian mainland.

At that time, Australia protested since such an act was akin to provocation as military grade lasers are used to determine the firing range and designate a target before actually firing a weapon.

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