Australia is currently engaged in joint military exercises with the US military, ahead of a major missile launch on Sunday. However, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) has warned that a second Chinese spy ship is approaching Australian shores ahead of the joint exercises, known as Exercise Talisman Saber. Defense officials are wary, saying it is “unusual” for two high-tech Chinese surveillance vessels to monitor the country.
In fact, this is the first time that two intelligence ships have been deployed by Beijing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted he is very wary of ships that appear to watch Talisman Saber 2021 war games off the coast of Queensland.
According to published photographs, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general intelligence ship Haiwangxing is approaching the east coast of Australia via the Solomon Sea.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the ADF had monitored the approach of the ship as part of a larger surveillance effort.
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He said: “Defense will continue to monitor the presence of these ships.”
A military official said Haiwanxing has been “on our radar for quite some time.”
As part of the fortnight’s joint exercises, the United States has already fired a Patriot missile for the first time on Australian soil.
During the missile test on Friday, a Patriot battery shot down a pair of drones.
It comes as a recent poll suggests more than four in ten Australians fear China is attacking Australia.
When asked the 603 people in Australia surveyed by the Australia Institute if they thought China would launch an armed attack on Australia, 6% responded soon and 36% said some time, for a total of 42 %.
Earlier today, China responded to new US sanctions against Chinese officials following its crackdown in Hong Kong.
Beijing has vowed to deliver a “head-on blow” to the United States and criticized Washington DC for its “unprovoked defamation”.