Navy 'comfortable' with response to China warship clash

navy 'comfortable' with response to china warship clash

Vice Admiral Mark Hammond says the government has raised the sonar incident very effectively.

Australia’s navy chief has responded to an “unsafe and unprofessional” incident involving a Chinese warship and backed the government’s handling of it.

At least one naval diver was injured this month after a Chinese destroyer switched on its undersea sonar, knowing HMAS Toowoomba personnel were in the water.

Vice Admiral Mark Hammond reflected on the sonar attack outside the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday.

“The government has raised this very effectively,” he told reporters.

“We don’t have a direct relationship between our navy and the PLA Navy (China’s armed forces).

“This is an issue for government, I’m very comfortable with the way the government’s dealt with it.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was quizzed about the incident during Question Time in federal parliament.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton asked why Mr Albanese had not raised the incident with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the recent APEC summit.

“This is a situation, very serious situation, where sailors were injured,” Mr Dutton said.

In response, Mr Albanese quoted former prime minister Scott Morrison on not engaging in “showboating” debates.

“Every incident with China on this government’s watch … has been revealed publicly, has gone directly to China … to make our position clear,” he told parliament.

The incident was raised through diplomatic channels.

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