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Defence Minister Peter Dutton has said the proximity of the Chinese ship Dongdiao AI-792 to the Australian coastline was an intentional course of action to collect intelligence.

”Its intentional course is to collect intelligence right along the coastline, it has been in close proximity to military and intelligence installations on the west coast of Australia,” Dutton said.

”It was cited as at 0600 hours this morning 250 nautical miles north-west of Broome and tracking north-east at 12 knots. It is unusual in terms of the way in which it has come so far south, and the way in which it is hugging the coastline as it heads up in the direction of Darwin.

”We will continue to monitor that. We have obviously had a number of aircraft involved in the surveillance of this particular vessel.”

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