China has firmly rejected Australia's accusations that a Chinese warship acted unsafely and unprofessionally when interacting with an Australian vessel in international waters near Japan's exclusive economic zone.
Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian on Monday evening called Australia's claims "completely untrue" and said China has lodged formal representations with the Australian side.
Wu said the Chinese warship, CNS Ningbo, was tracking, monitoring, identifying, and verifying the Australian frigate HMAS Toowoombain accordance with international laws and regulations. He emphasized that the Chinese vessel maintained a safe distance from the Australian ship and did not engage in any actions that could have interfered with the Australian Navy divers' operations.
Wu also clarified that there is no demarcation between China and Japan in the relevant waters and that China's military activities did not take place within or enter Japan's exclusive economic zone.
"We urge the Australian side to respect the facts, stop making reckless and irresponsible accusations against China, do more to build up mutual trust between the two sides, and create a positive atmosphere for the sound development of relations between the two countries and two militaries," Wu said.
The Australian Defense Minister's office had earlier accused the Chinese warship of "unsafe and unprofessional" actions, claiming that the encounter resulted in injuries to Australian Navy divers.