China has doubled down on its response to accusations from the Morrison government over its military conduct, delivering a stern warning to Australia.
On Monday, Beijing rejected claims from Canberra it had acted in a dangerous manner by shining a laser at an Australian aircraft in waters off the Northern Territory and instead flipped the accusations, saying it was Australia who was in fact the aggressor towards its naval vessel.
And on Tuesday, in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting Australia's air force had every right to be in close proximity to the vessel, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin again took aim at Canberra.
"The content in the Australian statement runs counter to facts and is pure disinformation," he said.
China says the Australian aircraft flew four kilometres from the Chinese warship and dropped sonobuoys in its vicinity.
Mr Wang branded it "a deliberate provocation" and said it wasn't the first time Australia's military had acted inappropriately.
"I want to stress that Australia has sent its reconnaissance planes to take provocative actions against China on many occasions," he said.
"In November last year, Australia’s P-8 military aircraft intruded into China’s airspace over the Xisha Islands, which seriously undermined China’s sovereignty.
"We firmly oppose this, and urge the Australian side to reflect on itself, refrain from maliciously spreading disinformation and starting deliberate provocation."
While rejecting Australia's version of events, China has not directly denied shining the laser.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton earlier said pointing the laser at the aircraft endangered the lives of those on board and could have blinded them.
Mr Dutton has repeatedly riled Beijing in recent months for "hyping" the chances of military conflict in the region.
Matters regarding China have moved to the forefront of the upcoming federal election narrative, with the Liberal party accusing the Labor party of an inferior stance to national security.
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