Australia: navy ships challenged by Chinese warship

According to an information made available by government sources in Canberra, a Chinese warship challenged a group of 3 Australian Navy ships in the Taiwan Straits on April 17. The Australian flotilla, which included a guided missile frigate NEWCASTLE, was going from South Korea to Hong Kong. A Chinese warship challenged the ships in Taiwan Straits claiming they illegally entered China's territorial waters. The flotilla did not comply with an order to leave and continued its voyage towards Hong Kong. The Chinese government issued a formal protest over the incident.The Australian authorities, on the other hand, insist that the ships wereexercising their right of 'innocent passage' and quote the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention to support their stand. The story appeared in the Australian media shortly after Prime Minister Howard's remarks about defending Taiwan brought a negative comment from the Chinese Embassy officials in Canberra.

Henry L. Marconi Pravda.Ru Sydney, Australia

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