Shocking new details about Aussie aircraft's encounter with China

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A Chinese fighter plane that intercepted an Australian maritime surveillance aircraft in international airspace last month released flares and cut across its nose at very close range, government officials have revealed.

The RAAF P-8 aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter plane in the South China Sea on May 26, the Department of Defence confirmed on Sunday.

"The intercept resulted in a dangerous manoeuvre which posed a safety threat to the P-8 aircraft and its crew," it said.

New Defence Minister Richard Marles has since revealed just how risky the encounter was.

A Boeing P-8 Poseidon - like the Aussie one that was intercepted by China - is seen with two Pilatus PC9 planes during a media preview flight (illustrative purposes only).
The RAAF P-8 aircraft was intercepted by a Chinese J-16 fighter plane in the South China Sea on May 26 (illustrative purposes only). Source: AAP

Mr Marles said the Chinese aircraft flew very close to the side of the Australian plane, where it released flares.

"The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8, settling in front of the P-8 at very close distance," he said during a press conference in Melbourne on Sunday.

"At that moment, it then released a bundle of chaff, which contains small pieces of aluminium, some of which were ingested into the engine of the P-8aircraft. Quite obviously, this is very dangerous."

The department said Defence 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.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who has detailed just how risky the encounter with China was.
New Defence Minister Richard Marles has revealed just how risky the encounter with China was. Source: AAP

The Australian Government has raised its concerns about the incident with the Chinese Government through the appropriate channels, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in Perth after news of the incident broke.

"I won't be making further comment on it, other than to say that in the Australian government's view, in the Defence Department's view, this was not safe, what occurred," he said before embarking on an official trip to Indonesia.

'Better relations across the Indo-Pacific region'

Mr Albanese remains confident of maintaining positive relationships with Indonesia, ahead of his three-day trip to the country.

The prime minister will fly out for Jakarta on Sunday, where he will hold key talks with President Joko Widodo.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks to the media during a press conference in Perth.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is heading to Jakarta on Sunday. Source: AAP

Mr Albanese said while he had already spoken with President Widodo since becoming prime minister, he was looking forward to continuing bilateral talks with Indonesia.

"My government is determined to have better relations across the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

"My discussions with President Widodo have been very cordial and positive ... we've met, of course, in the past, I look forward to the next couple of days."

Following the talks in Jakarta, Mr Albanese will also visit the city of Makassar in the country's east.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting