China Wages Territorial Battle With Australia

Monday, April 30, 2001
China lodged a complaint with Australia after three Australian naval vessels moving through the Taiwan Straits were challenged by the Chinese navy, a spokesman for Australia's foreign affairs minister said.

A Chinese navy vessel told three Australian ships moving through the straits earlier this month that they were in territorial waters.

However, the Australian vessels said they were exercising their right to free navigation in accordance with the laws of the sea and continued. The spokesman for minister Alexander Downer said the Chinese had raised an official protest with Australia about the transit.

"We maintain that our ships were always abiding by their rights under the law of the sea," the spokesman said.

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