Australia says China's South China Sea claims are unlawful

Australia says China's South China Sea claims are unlawful

Australia says China's South China Sea claims are unlawful

"The United States' policy is crystal clear: The South China Sea is not China's maritime empire".

Its more outspoken position on China's claims comes after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this month China had offered no coherent legal basis for its ambitions in the South China Sea and for years has been using intimidation against other coastal states.

"It seems Australia hasn't clearly thought about the outcome", an article by Guangdong Research Institute for International Strategies professor Zhou Fangyin states in the article, entitled "Australia unwisely boards U.S. leaky boat to meddle in South China Sea".

But this recent response published in the country's propaganda outlet is a direct retaliation for Australia filing a declaration at the United Nations in NY, rejecting China's maritime claims as being inconsistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Australia also said it did not accept China's assertion that its sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands was "widely recognized by the global community", citing objections from Vietnam and the Philippines.

Specifically, Australia rejects China's insistence on holding "historic rights" to the South China Sea, the drawing of "baselines" to connect its occupied rocks in the Paracel and Spratly island chains, and China's claim to maritime zones around completely submerged features and around features only visible at low-tide conditions.

In its petition to the UN, Australia said it rejected China's "historical claims" in the South China Sea region because they violate worldwide law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Australian Government, July 2020What's the dispute?

China along with the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia hold different, sometimes overlapping, territorial claims over the waterway.

Beijing claims a large location called the "nine-dash line" and has actually backed its claims with island-building and patrols.

Australia is the latest in a small but emerging chorus of nations that are describing as illegal China's position that it holds economic and maritime rights to almost all of the South China Sea.

Australia addressed this in its United Nations letter, saying China's actions do not give it any more legal claim to the islands and resource-rich seas.

"The Australian Government does not accept that artificially transformed features can ever acquire the status of an island".

"Although China-Australia relations have already drastically soured, Australia has chosen to show its loyalty for the US".

"It should be said that so far Australia has not learned a great lesson", Fangyin's article said.

"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 also need to stand up for global law", he said.

"If it still insists on going on the current path, the possibility that China will take strong countermeasures can not be ruled out".

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