Beijing is always watching: China sends record numbers of military officials to Australia to scout our secretive $50billion fleet of submarines
- The Australian Navy’s biennial Sea Power conference held this week in Sydney
- The conference is adjoining the PACIFIC 2019 military trade show
- Chinese officials have flown in to observe the conference and trade show
Chinese naval officials have flown to Sydney to observe a conference discussing our secretive $50 billion fleet of submarines and examine our military technology.
The Chinese delegation from the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) is among 80 nations attending the Australian Navy’s biennial Sea Power conference this week.
The Department of Defence has confirmed six Chinese PLA-N officers are attending this year’s event, although several other officials from the country were denied access, reports the ABC.
Chinese naval officials have flown to Sydney to observe a conference discussing our secretive $50 billion fleet of submarines and examine our military technology
Australian naval officials were also at the event and met industry representatives
Defence Minister Marise Payne toured the PACIFIC 2019 trade show this week
‘PLA-N delegations have attended in similar numbers in recent years,’ the Defence Department told the broadcaster in a statement.
The conference is being held adjoining the PACIFIC 2019 military trade show, where defence contractors such as BAE Systems, Raytheon, and Naval Group have display stands.
French company Naval Group has been contracted to build Australia’s new fleet of submarines at a cost of $50 billion, while Raytheon are contracted to the build weapon systems.
BAE Systems, meanwhile, has been contracted to build Australia’s new fleet of military frigates.
Chinese officers strolled the crowd and examined the weapons and defence equipment on display.
The delegation is being led by Deputy Commander of China’s South Sea Fleet, Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang.
He held a bilateral meeting on Wednesday with the Australian Navy’s head of engineering, Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence.
The crowd at the defence contractor trade show PACIFIC 2019 held in Sydney this week
The visiting officials were also in the audience as Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Admiral John C. Aquilino, stressed the importance of America’s naval alliance with Australia in the Indo-Pacific region.
In a statement, Naval Group said it had ‘not received an official approach for a briefing on the Future Submarine Program by the Chinese delegation… [but had] provided an unclassified briefing on our global capabilities, products and platforms to a number of delegations and members of industry who have visited our stand during PACIFIC 2019’.
Minister Marise Payne meeting with representatives from french company Naval Group