China urged the Australian military to stop spreading false information and making dangerous, provocative acts following an encounter between a Chinese warship and an Australian aircraft, a military spokesman said on Monday.
Over the past two days, Australia has accused a Chinese naval ship of shining a "military grade" laser toward one of its warplanes, claiming such an act was "unprofessional, unsafe and reckless".
When responding to a request for comment on Australia's allegation, Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense, said what the Australian defense ministry said was totally inconsistent with the facts.
"On Feb 17, an Australian P-8 anti-submarine patrol plane flew near a Chinese naval fleet and the closest distance was only 4 kilometers. During the encounter, our ships operated in a safe, standard and professional fashion and their operations conformed to international laws and common practices," he said, also making public two pictures of the Australian jet and a sonobuoy it dropped near a Chinese ship.
"From the photos you can see that the plane is very close to our ships … Such malicious provocation is prone to misunderstanding and misjudgment that will compromise the safety of personnel, ships and aircraft of both sides," Tan said.
"Meanwhile, the Australian side deliberately disseminated false information about the incident to libel China. We strongly oppose the Australian side's behaviors and demand that it must stop such dangerous provocations immediately and drop the groundless accusations against China to avoid further damage to the relations between the two countries and militaries."
According to reports, the Chinese vessel involved in the encounter was sailing in the Arafura Sea off northern Australia when the incident happened on Thursday.