Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell has hit back at Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong for objecting to his comments about China’s “destabilising” manoeuvres in the South China Sea and asserted that Beijing should refrain from actions that could unilaterally alter the status quo in the region.
O’Farrell on Friday said Australia remains deeply concerned by Chinese actions in the South China Sea that are “destabilising and could provoke escalation”. The resource-rich South China Sea is also an important shipping route.
But Weidong, in a tweet, took objection to the Australian diplomat’s remarks and said they were made through “disregarding facts”.
To this end, O’Farrell reminded the Chinese envoy about the verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016 rejecting China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea region.
“Thank you @China_Amb_India. I would hope then you follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally alter the status quo,” the Australian High Commissioner tweeted.
Thank you @China_Amb_India. I would hope then you follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally alter the status quo. https://t.co/1w2nrcrxhr— Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia)
So-called arbitral tribunal of #SouthChinaSea violated principle of state consent. The award is illegal,null&void&has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it. We hope those non-claimant countries could contribute to regional peace&stability rather than contrary.— Sun Weidong (@China_Amb_India)
In its verdict, the international tribunal, constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) said that China had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines by carrying out certain activities in the South China Sea.
The Philippines had approached the tribunal arguing that China’s territorial claims in the region is unlawful.
China claims sovereignty over all of South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several countries in the region including Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei have competing claims.
O’Farrell issued a statement on Thursday criticising China over its border row with India in eastern Ladakh and its actions in South China Sea.
In the last few weeks, China has increased its military assertiveness in South China Sea when the entire world is battling the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, the US had sent military ships near the disputed islands and called Beijing’s claim over the region illegal.
(with inputs from agencies)
Source: Thanks WIONews.com