An editorial in a Chinese state-owned newspaper said it would be shame if an Australian plane “fell from the sky” a day after the world learnt that the RAAF flew an aircraft over disputed territory claimed by China.
The comment was published in the English language edition of The Global Times following Australia’s challenge to Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, ABC News reports.
Yesterday the BBC published audio of a message delivered to the Chinese Navy as a RAAF surveillance aircraft flew over the disputed Spratly Islands on November 25.
“We are an Australian aircraft exercising international freedom of navigation rights, in international airspace in accordance with the international civil aviation convention and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Australian message said.
In response to the publication of the message the Global Times editorial stated that “Australia should not count on being welcomed or accepted” in air space around the disputed territories.
“The Chinese people cannot understand why the Australian military would get involved, and to be honest, they have less patience to prevent a flare up,” the editorial said.
“Australian military planes better not regularly come to the South China Sea to ‘get involved’ , and especially don’t test China’s patience by flying close to China’s islands.