In a recent incident off the coast of Japan, Australian naval divers sustained injuries during an encounter with a Chinese warship, according to statements from Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles. The incident occurred in international waters as the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoomba was engaged in diving operations to clear fishing nets from its propellers. Marles accused the Chinese warship of engaging in “unsafe and unprofessional” actions by emitting dangerous sonar pulses, forcing the Australian divers to exit the water and resulting in minor injuries.
The Australian Defence Minister emphasized that Australia expects all countries, including China, to operate their militaries in a professional and safe manner. The reported incident took place in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, where HMAS Toowoomba was conducting operations in support of UN sanctions enforcement.
The Chinese government has not yet provided a comment on the allegations. The incident adds to existing tensions between Australia and China, despite recent diplomatic efforts to improve relations. The Australian government has expressed serious concerns to Chinese officials, while continuing to deepen military ties with the United States in response to perceived threats from China.