Canberra, Australia (AP) – Australia's Prime Minister said that the Australian Navy has a "perfect right" to cross the South China Sea after the Chinese Navy attacked three Australian warships on the highly contested waterway.
The Chinese "challenged" two Australian frigates and an oil refilling vessel this month when the Australian ships sailed for Vietnam, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. citing anonymous defense officials. English: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…27&Itemid=47 An encounter while China conducted its largest naval exercises in the region.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not comment on the specific incident when he was interviewed by reporters in London.
"We retain and practice the right to shipping and sea overflight throughout the world and in this regard we are talking about naval vessels on the oceans, including the South China Sea, as our perfect right is with international law," Turnbull said ,
The Department of Defense said it did not provide operational details on ships in the South China Sea.
But the department confirmed that the three warships had arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. They are doing a three-day goodwill visit to Vietnam.
Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defense Association, a think-tank on security policy, said the first aspect of such a challenge was usually a radio warning that the Australians were in Chinese territorial waters and a call for identification. The Australians would have answered that they are in international waters.
The next challenge is to send an airplane and a ship for investigation.
"Just escalate ̵