Defense Ministry dismisses reports of fishing boats' laser attack in South China Sea
By Liu Yang and Guo Yuandan Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/30 22:23:09
Foreign media accusation of Chinese fishing boats firing laser beams at Australian helicopters in the South China Sea is not consistent with the facts, said Wu Qian, spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of National Defense, on Thursday.
The Australian side should reflect before accusing others, Wu said at a routine press conference.
Chinese fishermen have the right to operate in Chinese territorial waters and to sail through open seas, Wu noted.
Wu's remarks came after Australian media reports on Wednesday claimed that Chinese fishing vessels shot laser beams at Australian navy helicopter pilots when they were conducting exercises in the South China Sea, forcing them to land as a precaution.
However, the reports did not provide evidence of the alleged attack. Australian news website abc.net.au reported that it has not yet been confirmed if the vessels were Chinese-flagged.
A Chinese military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times that China's fishing vessels are not advanced enough to have laser beams.
Another anonymous military expert told the Global Times that a laser beam would require vast amounts of electricity to power, and it is impossible for a fishing boat to provide such power.
Even if something was shot at the helicopters, it was probably only flashlights, as the aircraft flew too low and too close to ships, the anonymous expert said.
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