Canberra: Australia has claimed that a Chinese warship has been tracked along the country’s western coastline for the last one week and is suspected to have been carrying out spying. The Australian defence minister described the action as an aggressive act by China, stating that the ship that has been hugging the coastline has spying capabilities. Defence Minister Peter Dutton informed that the ship was last spotted earlier Friday while moving north some 250 nautical miles from Broome in Western Australia. The ship was identified by the Australian Defence Force as a Dongdiao Class Auxiliary Intelligence ship named Haiwangxing. According to the minister, the intention of the ship was, of course, to gather intelligence right along the coastline. Dutton said the ship has been hugging the western where military and intelligence installations are located. The minister said the Australian authorities were tracing the ship closely with the help of planes and other surveillance equipment and added that it was unprecedented for a Chinese warship to venture so far south. The minister said the government wishes to be open and honest with the countrymen about the development. “I think it is an aggressive act, and I think particularly because it has come so far south,” Dutton said. There has been a spike in tensions between China and Australia after the former recently entered into a security agreement with the Solomon Islands. The minister, however, rejected any link between the spotting of the Chinese ship and the upcoming national elections in eight days’ time. The Defence Force stated on the situation: “Australia respects the right of all states to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight in international waters and airspace, just as we expect others to respect our right to do the same.” It added that the ship's operation will be monitored in the Australian maritime approaches.