A high-tech Chinese research vessel has been detected mapping strategically important waters off the Western Australian coast where submarines are known to regularly transit.
In January and February, officials closely tracked the movements of the oceanographic ship as it conducted deepwater surveys in the Indian Ocean near Christmas Island and the Australian mainland.
An Australian Border Force (ABF) spokesperson told the ABC it was aware of the Chinese vessel’s presence and confirmed it had stayed within international waters.
“The Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Defence are aware that the Chinese oceanographic ship Xiang Yang Hong 01 [is off] the coast of Western Australia,” the spokesperson said.
“The vessel has not entered the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (AEEZ) other than for a direct transit through the AEEZ when transiting past Christmas Island.”
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