Beijing has been accused of using bizarre underwater spy drones to survey Australian “choke points”.
The relationship between the two countries soured recently following a gruesome deep fake image shared by Chinese officials allegedly showing an Aussie troop slaughtering an unarmed Afghan child.
A growing diplomatic dispute followed with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanding an apology. China refused and doubled down on the “repugnant” image.
And tensions do not show signs of easing as we head into the new year.
Underwater spy drones have been caught in Indonesian waters appearing to carry a Chinese deign, News.com.au reported.
The unexpected catch was made in shipping lanes said to be crucial or Australia’s security.
According to reports the drones are tube shaped and packed with sensors and a transmitter that can send data back to headquarters.
One was found in the world’s busiest shipping “highway” – the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Singapore.
Another two have been found near the Sunda and Lombok Straits to Australia’s north, gateways for Middle Eastern oil flows into China.
According to Australian reports, social media in Indonesia is flooded with fishermen and police posing with captured drones.
A fisherman, named by local media as Saeruddin, handed the 225cm-long catch over to police, who contacted the Indonesian navy.
It is said to be the third drone caught in recent years, with a fisherman finding one shortly before christmas in the Flores Sea.
The sinister catch symbolises a rocky relationship between the two nations.
Despite being its top trade partner, things soured in 2018 when Australia publicly banned China’s Huawei from its 5G network.
It worsened following Aussie calls for an inquiry into the origins of coronavirus, Reuters said.
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