SYDNEY: An Australian military surveillance plane has flown near disputed areas of the South China Sea, it emerged on Wednesday, with the crew heard warning China's navy it was on a freedom of navigation mission.
Tensions in the region have mounted since China transformed reefs in the South China Sea into small islands capable of supporting military facilities, a move the United States says threatens free passage in an area through which one-third of the world's oil passes.
In October, Washington infuriated Beijing when the USS Lassen guided missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of at least one land formation claimed by China in the disputed Spratly Islands chain.
Now a Royal Australian Air Force patrol plane has carried out patrols in air space around the area.
"A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion was conducting a routine maritime patrol in the region as part of Operation Gateway from November 25 to December 4," a defence department spokesperson told AFP.
China has no sovereign rights over South China Sea China 's territorial ambitions are to be contained by forming an axis containing India-Japan-Australia-Vietnam-Philippines-Laos
Very good move by the Aussies. China is trying to bully the smaller South East Asian countries.
Ravi K Gupta
Hmm. these activities will keep on continued from time to time
Sensitive .. may be one of the reason of 3rd WW .. !
Mahendra Kumar Nayak
Australian aircraft on mission to tease China.
it seems these things are necessary to keep china on its toes.. someone has to challenge and who is better then america and australia.. if china keep presurring others, then im sure china will be alone standing on one side and whole world on others. except pak anyway
China didn't learn it from Turkey what to do in such circumstance. Intention doesn't matter, only intrusion matters. Isn't so Turkey?
That really could have been risky. If Chinese navy would have fired arms, then unnecessarily there would have been casualties
This welcome news. Australia has joined Anti-China alliance of USA-Japan-India-Vietnam.
If the world sits quiet at Chinas territorial expansion ambitions, very soon they will be in every countries backyard just what happens in land grabbing and encroachment in India.
China annexing more land while UN=Useless Nations keeps mum
OMG Aussies act of Bravery or Stupidity or just want to show presence