This comes after Chinese warship’s encounter with an Australian vessel that left one person injured.
However, reportedly Albanese had declined to confirm whether he raised the issue face-to-face with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Apec summit last week.He said that the government had complained through “all the forums that are available”.
On Saturday, Defense Minister Richard Marles said that some divers from the HMAS Toowoomba got hurt because of sonar pulses emitted from a Chinese warship.
Guardian quoted Australian PM Albanese as saying in a sky news interview that he was “very concerned” about the situation.
One person suffered an injury as a result of the actions of China,” Albanese said.
“This is the sort of incident I’ve spoken about … why we need communication and guard rails, and we need to avoid reckless events like this. This is why we’ve made our strong objections to China.”
“This is one of those times we disagree with China … this sort of event should not occur.”
On Thursday, Albanese mentioned that he met with Xi at the Apec summit in San Francisco. The maritime incident happened on Tuesday, but the announcement was made on Saturday, after Albanese had left Apec. However, on Monday, the prime minister didn’t confirm whether he discussed the incident with Xi when asked multiple times, according to Guardian.
Reportedly, Albanese said Sky News, “I can assure you, we raised these issues in the appropriate way and very clearly, unequivocally. China is in no misunderstanding on Australia’s view on this.”
The Coalition opposition said Albanese should have directly discussed the matter with Xi.
“[Albanese] would have known this happened and he has boasted about the time that he spent with Xi Jinping and China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, while he was there. But did he raise this question?” asked shadow home affairs minister James Paterson.
“He hasn’t said so and if he’s not saying so it would appear the answer is he didn’t.”
Australia’s ambassador to the United States, Kevin Rudd, told Radio National it was “longstanding practice” not to comment on the content of conversations between leaders. Rudd called the question a “distraction” from the wider sonar incident, noting the government had publicly voiced strong criticisms.
Home affairs minister Clare O’Neil said that “the matter has been handled through the appropriate channels.”
“The Australian government has taken a strong stance against what is a very unacceptable incident that has put at risk people who signed up to defend our country in uniform. We take that incredibly seriously,” she reportedly said.
She further said that Australia would not “play politics with our relationship”.
“China is not going anywhere … we are going to have to find a way to coexist in our region over the coming decades.”