Australia refuses to increase patrols in the East Sea

Australia refuses to increase patrols in the East Sea 4

Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds on July 28 held talks with their US counterparts Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper in Washington, DC within the framework of the US-Australia Annual Ministerial Consultation.

During the conference, the ministers of the two countries focused on the China issue, criticized Beijing for imposing the Hong Kong security law, pledged to cooperate against the spread of false information and signed a new declaration of principles on

However, the Australian side does not agree with the US urging to increase the frequency of freedom of navigation patrols in the East Sea.

`We remain consistent in our approach. We will continue to transit the area in compliance with international law,` Reynolds said.

Australian corvette HMAS Arunta (front), Australian helicopter carrier HMAS Canberra (center) and Japanese destroyer Teruzuki practice in the Philippine Sea, July 21.

Last week, five Australian warships moved near illegally occupied Chinese entities in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago but did not enter the 12 nautical mile area.

In a note submitted to the United Nations on July 23, Australia declared that China’s territorial and maritime claims in the East Sea have no legal basis.

Foreign Minister Payne emphasized that although Australia has many things in common with the United States, the two countries do not automatically have the same views on all issues.

`Australia’s relationship with China is very important and we don’t want to damage it. However, we also have no intention of doing things that are contrary to our interests,` she added.

However, she said the US and Australia both `expressed deep concern about recent coercive and destabilizing behavior in the Indo-Pacific region`, agreeing that China’s claims

US Secretary of State Pompeo praised Australia’s stance towards China and said Washington and Canberra need to cooperate to reaffirm the principle of rule of law in the region.

The ministers also discussed an agreement to establish a fuel reserve for the US military in Darwin, Australia, ensuring US assets are not stranded in the area in case the logistics network is disrupted.

Australia is storing fuel in the US, where it is cheaper, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government pledged earlier this year to establish domestic reserves amid record low oil prices.

Australian Defense Minister Reynolds said the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 means the US and Australia need to strengthen cooperation more than ever.

Foreign Minister Payne and Defense Minister Reynolds are the first Australian government officials to travel abroad since nCoV appeared in this country.

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