Australia rejects China's South China Sea claims

Australia rejects China's South China Sea claims

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

This arrives months immediately after the United States formally dismissed China's statements to offshore means throughout most of the South China Sea and termed Beijing's marketing campaign of bullying to regulate them as "absolutely illegal".

In their move, both the USA and Australia cited a 2016 ruling by a United Nations tribunal that found China's claims to waters also contested by the Philippines were unlawful.

"Australia rejects any claims to internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and continental shelf based on such straight baselines".

The Australian Government insisted there is "no legal basis" to Beijing's territorial and maritime demands over the region.

China's Belt and Road Initiative, its island grabbing in the South China Sea, military force in the Taiwan Strait, its annexation of Hong Kong's legal system and the recent clashes at the border with Indian forces reveal a menacing strategy for regional control, the centre said.

Beijing claims a vast portion of the area, bound by what is known as the 'nine-dash line, ' and has backed its claims with island-building and patrols.

"It's a timely opportunity for us to talk about many issues involved in our partnership right now", Mr Morrison said today.

Washington announced that it is aligning the U.S. position on the Chinese government's claims in the South China sea with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal's decision.

The government said that features such as artificial islands can not attain the status of an island, and cited a UNCLOS provision stating that artificial islands do not have territorial sea and do not affect delimitation of maritime zones.

Over the weekend, China's Global Times - a newspaper speaking on behalf of the Chinese government - released a scathing criticism of Australia's decision to chime in on the South China Sea dispute.

"This is not China against the U.S. as they like to portray it, this is China against like-minded [nations]" they said.

Australia's political leaders are gearing up for a tense reunion with the United States at a looming G7 nations summit set to focus on the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of growing Chinese militarisation.

"The relationship between China and Australia has now deteriorated to a very bad point, and the chance for a turnaround is slim in the near future", the paper said.

"We would always like to see more like-minded countries participate because then it builds that global consensus and puts pressure on the PRC [People's Republic of China] to conform to that worldwide consensus", said one senior USA official.

"If [Australia] still insists on going on the current path, the possibility that China will take strong countermeasures can not be ruled out", the article concluded.

"For example, China could target substitutable agricultural products such as beef and wine".

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