Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell on Friday told China̵
Mr O’Farrell said on Thursday that Australia remained deeply concerned about China’s actions in the South China Sea, which “are destabilizing and could provoke an escalation”. The resource-rich South China Sea is also an important shipping route.
Later on Twitter, Mr. Sun objected to the Australian diplomat’s remarks, saying they were made “ignoring the facts.”
In his strong response, Mr O’Farrell reminded the Chinese envoy of the 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which rejected China’s claim to sovereignty over the South China Sea region.
“Thank you @China_Amb_India. I hope you will then follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration Award, which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally change the status quo,” the Australian High Commissioner tweeted. .
In its verdict, the international tribunal set up under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) says China has violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines by carrying out certain activities in the South China Sea.
Thank you @China_Amb_India I hope then to follow the South China Sea Arbitration Award for 2016, which is final and binding under international law, and also to generally refrain from actions that unilaterally change the status quo. https://t.co/1w2nrcrxhr
– Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) July 31, 2020
The Philippines has turned to the tribunal, arguing that China’s territorial claims in the region are illegal.
China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. Several countries in the region, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei, have competitive claims.
O’Farrell issued a statement Thursday criticizing China for its border line with India in eastern Ladakh and its actions in the South China Sea.
“On July 23, Australia submitted a note to the UN Secretary-General refuting China’s illegal maritime claims to the South China Sea,” he said.
“He rejects China’s claim to historic rights and inland waters, the assertion of some maritime zones, and claims that there is widespread international recognition of its claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea,” the High Commissioner added.
In recent weeks, China has boosted its military confidence in the South China Sea as the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the Chinese action, the United States sent warships near the disputed islands and called Beijing’s request for the region illegal.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our allies and Southeast Asian partners in defending their sovereign rights to offshore resources,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 14.