New Delhi: India isn’t the only country in China’s crosshairs right now. On Friday, Australian PM Scott Morrison said his government and some private sector entities in the country had been under a sustained cyberattack by a state actor — a hint at China.
Last week, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said two Chinese ships had attacked a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea. The incident happened near the Parcel Islands which China claims as its own. In April, Vietnam had protested after one of its fishing boats was sunk by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near the islands.
On Thursday, reports from Japan indicated China had placed its vessels near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea for 66 days running to intimidate Tokyo. Indonesia also has been facing similar Chinese bullying.
I’m here today to advise you that, based on advice provided to me by our cyber experts, Australian organisations are currently being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor,” Australian PM Morrison told reporters in Canberra. The Australian defence minister said malicious cyber activity was “increasing in frequency, scale, sophistication and impact”.
In the latest sighting in Japan, four Chinese coast guard vessels appeared around 9am about 18 miles northwest of Uotsuri Island inside Japan’s contiguous zone, and heading southwest, a spokesman for the Japan 11th Regional Coast Guard headquarters said on Thursday. Chinese vessels have been spotted in Japan’s contiguous waters every day since April 14.
Chinese and Malaysian vessels had been in a stand-off state near the island of Borneo in South China Sea for weeks earlier this year after a Malaysian-authorised drill ship was prospecting for resources in the area.
They were intercepted by Chinese survey ships and coast guard vessels, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI).
The Indonesian foreign minister wrote a diplomatic note to the UN on May 26, iterating Indonesia’s objections against China to the “so-called nine-dash line or so-called historic rights”.
News reports said Taiwan scrambled its aircraft on Wednesday again to warn off Chinese air force aircraft that approached the island, the fourth such encounter in nine days, Taiwan’s military said.
While the coronavirus pandemic has kept most countries busy, China has taken it as opportunity to advance its territorial claims. The total area of territory that China claims from other countries is larger than China itself, suggest some reports. In fact, it is claiming territory from 23 countries even as it has land boundaries with only 14.