Beijing has dispatched a second high-tech surveillance ship to Queensland as large-scale army workout routines involving Australian and American forces ramp up.
- The Haiwanxing was tracked approaching Australia by the Solomon Sea close to PNG
- A army official says it has been on “on our radar for a while”
- It’s a sister ship to a different vessel additionally believed to be monitoring this yr’s Train Talisman Sabre
Simply days after the ABC revealed a People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) vessel was being tracked by the ADF, defence sources have confirmed one other intelligence-gathering ship is quickly anticipated to additionally arrive off the east coast.
One army official, who spoke to the ABC on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t authorised to remark publicly, stated the Haiwanxing (which interprets as “Neptune”) had been “on our radar for a while”.
The Haiwanxing is an Auxilliary Common Intelligence (AGI) vessel and a youthful sister ship to the Tainwangxing (“Uranus”), which is already believed to be intently monitoring this yr’s Train Talisman Sabre.
For the previous two Talisman Sabre workout routines in 2019 and 2017, China has deployed an AGI to check how US forces work together with their Australian allies, however that is the primary event a second surveillance vessel has come.
Australia, like the US, additionally commonly deploys intelligence-gathering property to watch the army exercise of different nations, however defence officers imagine it’s “uncommon” two Chinese language ships are monitoring Talisman Sabre in 2021.
The Tainwangxing was tracked by the ADF because it transited by the Torres Straight in the direction of Queensland waters, however the Haiwanxing is approaching by the Solomon Sea round Papua New Guinea.
Up to now, the Defence Division has not commented publicly on the approaching arrival of the second Chinese language surveillance ship, regardless of being approached by the ABC on Friday.
A spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter Dutton has additionally, to this point, not responded to questions from the ABC.
Previously week, the US has fired a Patriot missile for the primary time on Australian soil as a part of the ‘Talisman Sabre’ coaching exercise, which takes place each two years.
On Sunday, the US army is predicted to do a live-fire demonstration of its Excessive Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), know-how which the ADF might quickly buy.
Talisman Sabre is described as “Australia’s largest war-fighting train”, however this yr the variety of worldwide contributors has been scaled again attributable to COVID-19.
Together with forces from the US and Japan, this yr the exercise may also embrace army personnel from Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the UK.
Each Chinese language Kind 815 ships are anticipated to stay exterior Australian territorial waters however inside Australia’s Unique Financial Zone (EEZ) as they monitor the fortnight-long battle video games.
ANU Regulation Professor Donald Rothwell stated if each PLAN vessels remained exterior Australia’s “12 nautical mile” restrict whereas working within the EEZ, their exercise could be in step with freedom of navigation legal guidelines underneath the UN Conference on the Regulation of the Sea.
“The Torres Strait is a world strait underneath the 1982 UN Conference on the Regulation of the Sea and that standing is universally recognised,” Professor Rothwell stated.
“It’s questionable whether or not any intelligence-gathering actions by the Tianwangxing whereas passing by the Torres Strait are permissible underneath the Conference.”