Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Australia-China Row: Australia Backs The US, Rejects Chinese ‘Expansionist’ Claims In The South China Sea

Tensions between Australia and China could further escalate after the Australian government rejected Chinese territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea in a formal declaration to the United Nations, aligning itself more closely with the United States. 

In a statement filed on Thursday, Australia said there was “no legal basis” to several disputed Chinese claims in the sea including those related to the construction of artificial islands on small shoals and reefs.

“Australia rejects China’s claim to ‘historic rights’ or ‘maritime rights and interests’ as established in the ‘long course of historical practice’ in the South China Sea,” the declaration read.

“There is no legal basis for China to draw straight baselines connecting the outermost points of maritime features or ‘island groups’ in the South China Sea, including around the ‘Four Sha’ or ‘continental’ or ‘outlying’ archipelagos.”

The declaration comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Beijing’s pursuit of territory and resources in the South China Sea as illegal, explicitly backing the territorial claims of Southeast Asian countries against China’s.

Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea based on a so-called nine-dash line, a vague delineation from maps dating back to the 1940s.

The latest escalation comes ahead of annual talks between Australia and the United States, with ministers travelling to Washington for the first time since Australian borders were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meetings come at a “critical time” and it is essential they are held face-to-face, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement on Saturday.

US relations with China have markedly deteriorated in recent months, especially over trade disputes, the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.

On Friday, Beijing ordered the US consulate in Chengdu to shut in retaliation for the closure of its Houston mission over accusations of being a hub for intellectual property theft.

Payne and Reynolds also penned an article in The Australian newspaper on Saturday, labelling national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong last month as “sweeping and vague”.

“We face a public health crisis, economic upheaval and resurgent authoritarian regimes using coercion in a bid to gain power and influence at the expense of our freedoms and sovereignty,” they wrote.

Featured News

Indian LCA Tejas Or Pakistani JF-17: Who Is Winning The Malaysian Fighter Jet Contract?

India’s multi-role Tejas fighter has captured the imagination of the Malaysian air force for quite some time now. The 4.5 generation Light Combat Aircraft...

As MiG-35 Gets Neural Links, IAF Pilot Says India Must Prioritize ‘Capabilities Over Platform’

Russia’s MiG Corporation is developing smart target recognition systems based on neural networks for MiG series aircraft, especially the 4++ generation MiG-35 fighter, the...

Unreliable Ally: Should US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Be A ‘Wake-Up Call’ For All Major Non- NATO Allies (MNNA)?

US President Joe Biden’s announcement that all American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, thus ending...

China, Russia Or Aliens: Why Is There A Sudden Surge In UFO Sightings Over US Military Bases?

The sudden surge in the "UFO" sightings over US military bases and naval assets may be attributed to deliberate incursions by enemy spy drones. Defense...

As China ‘Attacks’ Japan Over Fukushima Issue & Disputed Islands, PM Suga To Meet US President Biden

Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga is in Washington for talks with US President Joe Biden amid China's mounting criticism of Tokyo's plan to release Fukushima...