Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell on Friday objected to Chinese Ambassador to India Wei Weidong over his comments about Chinese actions in the South China Sea and said Beijing should refrain from actions that could unilaterally change the situation in the region .
On Thursday, Mr O’Farrell said that Australia was deeply related to Chinese actions in the South China Sea that are “destabilizing and could spark growth”. The resource-rich South China Sea is also an important shipping route.
In a later tweet, Mr Surya objected to the Australian diplomat’s remarks and said he had been “disregarded of the facts”.
Mr O’Farrell, in his strong response, reminded the Chinese envoy about the decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016, which rejected China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea region.
“Thank you @China_Amb_India. I hope you will follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and should generally avoid actions that unilaterally change the status quo,” Australian The High Commissioner tweeted.
In its ruling, the international tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Sea of Sea (UNCLOS) stated that China had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines by carrying out certain activities in the South China Sea.
Thank you @China_Amb_India. I hope you will follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award, which is final and binding under international law, and generally should also avoid actions that unilaterally change the status quo. https://t.co/1w2nrcrxhr
– Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) 31 July 2020
The Philippines appealed to the tribunal that China’s territorial claims in the region are illegal.
China claims sovereignty over the South China Sea, a vast source of hydrocarbons. However, many countries in the region, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei, have competing claims.
O’Farrell issued a statement on Thursday, criticizing China’s border line with India in eastern Ladakh and its action in the South China Sea.
“On 23 July, Australia filed a note with the UN Secretary-General denying China’s illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea,” he said.
The High Commissioner said, “It rejects China’s claim to historical rights and internal waters, its claims to certain maritime zones and its claims to South China Sea sovereignty have widespread international recognition.”
In the past few weeks, China has increased its military presence in the South China Sea at a time when the entire world is struggling with a coronovirus epidemic.
Following Chinese actions, the US sent military ships to the disputed islands, and called Beijing’s claim on the region illegal.
On July 14, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The world will not allow Beijing to consider the South China Sea as its maritime empire. The US will protect our sovereign rights with our South East Asian allies and allies.”