US and UK ally Australia has announced it will stand up and defend the principle of international law along with Vietnam, the latest Asian country to face aggression from China. New Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the leaders remained committed to sovereignty in the region, which has become a potential battle ground since tensions between Beijing and other nations spiked this year. Though Mr Morrison has not called out China for their actions, he has condemned their behaviour, ABC News reports.
He said: “It isn’t about picking sides.
“It’s about ensuring each and every nation in this region can have confidence in its independence and sovereignty.”
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with the Australian to discuss rising tensions in the territorial waters, with the gathering being their first in Hanoi since they formalised a “strategic partnership”.
Mr Phuc, using the Vietnamese name for South China Sea, said: “We are deeply concerned about the recent complicated developments in the East Sea and agree to cooperate in maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight.”
These were Mr Phuc’s first comments on the standoff.
The meeting comes days after the Philippines U-turned on their relationship with ally China and finally admitted Beijing’s constant presence in the South China Sea has become an “irritant”, sparking new tensions between the Asian nations.
Officials in Manila have expressed concerns about war ships from China entering Philippine territory – despite Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte’s refusing to condemn it.
He has sparked outrage over the past week after he declared he would not stop China’s Xi Jinping roaming the waters.
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He said: “The government can always file a diplomatic protest and let them respond to it”.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is also known as the law of the sea and came into play in 1982.
The legislation defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
General David Goldfein, chief of staff of the US Air Force in the Pacific, accused China of violating the convention due to Beijing’s aggression over the waters.