Australia, United States: China’s unilateral actions should stop

Australia and United States of America have expressed strong concern over China’s activities in West Philippine Sea through their respective defense, foreign affairs and state secretaries October 13, after the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations in Boston. “They expressed strong concerns over recent Chinese land reclamation and construction activity in the South China Sea. They called on all claimant states to halt land reclamation, construction, and militarization,” said in a joint press release.

The joint statement also said US and Australian secretaries and ministers underscored the importance that China follow through on its commitment not to militarize the Spratly Islands and take other similar steps to defuse tensions associated with its land reclamation program.

US State Secretary John Kerry, in a joint press conference, said they “held in-depth talks on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the East and South China Seas.”

“It doesn’t matter how big a country is, the principle is clear. The rights of all nations are supposed to be respected with respect to maritime law,” Carter added.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said “make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception.

“We are on the same page with the United States when it comes to the claims in the South China Sea,” Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said. “We urge all parties to not act unilaterally, to not act in a way that would escalate tensions, and that there be primacy given to the principles of freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, and we continue to work together to press those principles on all claimants in the South China Sea and elsewhere.”