Australian Defense Department officials have criticized the “dangerous” actions of a Chinese warship after it reportedly fired a laser at an Oz military aircraft.
Earlier this week, military-grade laser beams that could potentially blind pilots were reported amid ongoing tensions over the South China Sea dispute.
According to Sydney Morning Heralda ROC naval destroyer struck a RAFF Poseidon aircraft in what was deemed “unsafe and unprofessional” in violation of international codes and agreements.
Officials confirmed the incident after a Luyan-class guided-missile destroyer was sighted in the Arafura Sea on Thursday.
A statement from the Australian Department of Defense confirmed that it had detected the laser as it crossed the country’s “northern approaches” as they subsequently warned that it could be life threatening.
The government body said: “We strongly condemn unprofessional and unsafe military behavior. These actions could endanger the safety and lives of ADF personnel.
“Such actions are not up to the standards we expect from a professional military.”
They later confirmed that the vessel, which was escorted by another People’s Liberation Army and Navy ship, was tracked by HMAS Launceston as it sailed through the Coral Sea.
The incident is seen in the latest dispute over Chinese territorial ambitions in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes the South China Sea.
Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, responded by calling the act “dangerous and unacceptable” because it “took place in our backyard.”
He said: “This highlights the strategic logic of operations in the Pacific and the need for our military to be vigilant right around our coast.
“It also points to a new level of recklessness in China’s military behavior in our backyard.”
The comments came after Australia announced a historic security deal with the US and UK that was seen as an attempt to counter Chinese aggression.
The defense alliance AUKUS includes an agreement whereby the two Western giants will share nuclear secrets.
China was quick to denounce the agreement as “grossly irresponsible”.
Meanwhile, ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said it “seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race.”