Today: Monday, 10 August 2020 year

Australia rejects Beijing’s South China Sea claims

Australia rejects Beijing’s South China Sea claims

Australia has filed the statement, which indicates that 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.

With that statement, Canberra backs Washington, pointing there is ‘no legal basis’ to several Chinese claims in the disputed sea, according to Al Jazeera.

This week, Australia has rejected Beijing’s 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 the escalating row.

«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 issued on Thursday read.

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.

In its efforts to calm the situation, Canberra said 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.

The disputed sea: Australia backs the United States

The Australian declaration comes after 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.

In fact, the latest escalation comes in advance of annual talks between Australia and the US, with ministers travelling to Washington, DC 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.

Meanwhile, both Payne and Reynolds also wrote 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,» ministers stressed.