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‘Aggressive act’: Aussie defense minister knocks Chinese intel ship ‘hugging coastline’

220509 – OFFICIAL – DONGDIAO

People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) Intelligence Collection Vessel Haiwangxing operating off the north-west shelf of Australia. (Australian MoD)

SYDNEY: Eight days before a heavily-contested federal election, Defense Minister Peter Dutton today revealed that a Chinese intelligence ship had entered Australia’s exclusive economic zone and was “hugging the coastline” near highly classified facilities, in what he called “an aggressive act.”

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party government has regularly flagged Chinese actions over the last 18 months, the timing of this release by Dutton raised questions about whether it was tied to the looming election, given that Australia has been monitoring the ship ‘for the past week or so.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison maintained an even keel in his comments about the ship today.

“They’ll keep a

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