The recent Chinese interception and use of chaff* on an Australian P8 patrol flying in international airspace over the South China Sea is an alarming increase in "grey zone"* conflict between China and Australia.


This article by Peter Layton in The Interpreter makes the following points:
  • Australia has patrolled the area for decades.
  • Grey zone threats are increasing and are carefully designed to enhance national power, including using non-military methods.
  • Possibility of another accidental aircraft collision.
  • Canadian aircraft have also been intercepted.
  • The first use of chaff by China aborted the Australian patrol.
  • China aims to force others out of the South China Sea gradually.
  • Air Defence Identification Zones could be introduced across specific grey-zone areas.
  • Grey zone operations support the so-called “nine-dash line” where China claims its domestic law applies.
  • China is a “wolf warrior” nation.
  • The Chinese Foreign Minister suggested a reset in Chinese-Australia relations despite Chinese aggression.

*CHAFF...' decoy known as chaff, which consists of tiny strips of aluminum or zinc that the aircraft releases in large bunches. These metallic clouds appear as separate targets to the missile's radar and ideally confuse the missile, thus permitting the aircraft to escape'. chaff | military decoy | Britannica

GREY-ZONE.....' Grey-zone activities are coercive statecraft actions short of war. The grey-zone is a mainly non-military domain of human activity in which states use national resources to deliberately coerce other states'.  Grey Zone | The Forge (



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Source Information: Lowy Institute The