- Australia acknowledges conducting surveillance patrols over South China Sea
- The radio communication from the RAAF AP-3C Orion was recorded by a BBC journalist who published the story just recently
- China has not responded to the RAAF’s audio message but repeatedly warned the BBC team who were on board a Philippine civilian aircraft
Australia has made its own statement in the brewing territorial dispute in the region by flying a surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, apparently in defiance of the communist giant which claims absolute sovereignty in the area.
While it was reported by Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) that the surveillance flight is actually part of routine patrols that has been going on for years under Operation Gateway, it was the first time that an audio recording from one of its spy plane was intercepted by another aircraft and made public.
The radio communication that came from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion was recorded by a BBC crew who as on board a Philippine single engine Cessna 206 that flew over the disputed waters last month.
“China navy, China navy. We are an Australian aircraft exercising international freedom of navigation rights, in international airspace in accordance with the international civil aviation convention, and the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, over,” BBC‘s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes quoted the message heard from an Australian plane.
However, no response came from the Chinese navy.
But unlike the RAAF aircraft, Hayes’ flight received a warning from Chinese troops after the BBC journalist and his team, who was on an assignment on South China Sea, flew close to one of the disputed islands. (Click here to read more)