A second Chinese spy vessel is on track to enter waters off Australia’s northeast coast, adding to Beijing’s surveillance presence in the area as joint military exercises between Australia and the US started last week, Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) reported.
Approaching Australia through the Solomon Sea around Papua New Guinea, the vessel joins a larger Chinese auxiliary general-intelligence ship that was earlier spotted heading toward the country through the Torres Strait and is being monitored by the Australian Defence Force, it said.
The vessels are expected to monitor the Talisman Sabre exercises, a routine military collaboration training between the US and Australia that takes place every two years.
Although Beijing has utilized intelligence-gathering measures on previous occasions, this is the first time the country has deployed a second vessel and marks an “unusual” development, ABC said, citing defense force officials.
In 2019, a Chinese ship remained just outside territorial waters, but within Australia’s exclusive economic zone, ABC said.
“We have rules, and we want everyone to adhere to those rules when it comes to freedom of navigation,” Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan yesterday said on Sky News Television when asked about the Chinese presence.
The move comes amid escalating geopolitical tensions between Canberra and Beijing, which were exacerbated when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last year called for an independent investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic — a move he repeated just last week.
Since Morrison’s original petition, Beijing has implemented a range of trade reprisals against Australian goods including coal, wine and barley — measures that have been described by US President Joe Biden’s administration as “economic coercion.”
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
DEFENSE-READY: The armament of the ‘Yushan’ allows for amphibious combat operations, the head of a firm involved in the ship’s construction said The navy yesterday took delivery of the first locally developed and built naval ship of more than 10,000 tonnes in a ceremony in Kaohsiung presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The ROCS Yushan, an amphibious transport dock, was the result of a government-initiated indigenous shipbuilding project seeking to establish autonomy over national defense, Tsai said. She thanked CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and the navy for their contributions. The military needs the best equipment to uphold peace and defend Taiwan as it faces military threats from China, Tsai said. The 153m long and 23m wide Yushan