Active Stocks
Mon Dec 04 2023 09:53:07
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 586.75 2.61%
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 131.2 0.96%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,585.15 1.91%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 276.3 2.69%
  1. ITC share price
  2. 452.65 0.61%
Business News/ Politics / Australia accuses China of injuring naval divers with sonar pulses
Back Back

Australia accuses China of injuring naval divers with sonar pulses


The divers were attempting to remove fishing nets from the propellers of a frigate in international waters when they were targeted by a Chinese naval destroyer.

Australia Accuses China of Injuring Naval Divers With Sonar PulsesPremium
Australia Accuses China of Injuring Naval Divers With Sonar Pulses

SYDNEY—Australia accused the Chinese navy of injuring some of its divers with sonar pulses during an operation near Japan, reigniting tensions between a key U.S. ally and Beijing just days after their leaders met to stabilize ties.

The Australian divers were attempting to remove fishing nets from the propellers of HMAS Toowoomba, a long-range frigate, on Tuesday when they were targeted by a sonar from a Chinese naval destroyer, said Australia’s acting Prime Minister Richard Marles.

The Australian navy twice told the destroyer that it would send divers down and asked it to stay clear, Marles said on Saturday. Still, the Chinese ship moved closer after acknowledging the Australian request, and used a hull-mounted sonar that led the divers to exit from the water.

“This is unsafe and unprofessional conduct," said Marles, who is also Australia’s defense minister.

The divers from HMAS Toowoomba, which was in international waters inside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone en route to one of the country’s ports, sustained minor injuries that Australian officials believe were caused by the sonar pulses.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Western officials are concerned about China’s more aggressive posture toward their defense forces conducting maritime surveillance and other activities in the Indo-Pacific region. Beijing has, in turn, accused the U.S. of spying on China, including by using patrol aircraft over the South China Sea. China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, which is also an important trade route.

Western defense officials say encounters are becoming more dangerous. In December, the U.S. accused a Chinese jet fighter of flying within 20 feet of a U.S. reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea. Beijing said the U.S. plane veered suddenly toward the jet.

Australian officials have also reacted angrily to some Chinese maneuvers, which they say are unnecessarily aggressive and put lives at risk. In February last year, Australia accused the Chinese navy of shining a military-graded laser at a surveillance plane flying over its territorial waters.

The latest flashpoint happened as HMAS Toowoomba was conducting operations in support of United Nations sanctions enforcement, Marles said.

“Defense has for decades undertaken maritime surveillance activities in the region and does so in accordance with international law, exercising the right to freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace," he said.

China and Australia have been taking steps to repair ties after a two-year standoff that was triggered by former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19. At the height of the dispute, China had imposed restrictions on several Australian imports, including coal and wine, and its officials were refusing to take calls from their Australian counterparts. 

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has sought to restore those links with China while also strengthening the country’s military alliance with the U.S. In recent months, China has lifted many trade restrictions, released an Australian journalist whom it had detained on suspicion of disclosing state secrets and restarted ministerial meetings. -

Those efforts culminated in Albanese making a four-day visit to China this month, which included a meeting with President Xi Jinping. “The relationship with China is important," Albanese said on Friday. “One in four of Australia’s jobs depends on trade."

Write to David Winning at

Milestone Alert!
Livemint tops charts as the fastest growing news website in the world 🌏 Click here to know more.

Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App