Australia has said, it will oppose Beijing’s construction of artificial reefs and their militarization in the disputed South China Sea. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who is New Delhi on two day visit said that freedom of navigation in the Sea must be ensured.
Delivering a lecture in New Delhi yesterday she said, Australia will continue to oppose the construction of artificial reefs and militarization of those structures in the South China Sea.
India has commercial interests in the South China Sea and has been pressing for resolving the dispute as per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, besides advocating freedom of navigation in the resource-rich area.
China has constructed artificial reefs in the resource rich South China sea and has been ramping up military infrastructure there despite stiff opposition from countries including Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines, which are involved in the territorial dispute.
During her adress, Bishop also emphasised on the need to “close the gaps” for an early conclusion of the negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and Australia.
Bishop also said, in the Indian Ocean, there is a need of collective leadership of Australia, India, Indonesia and other partners to ensure a strong rule-based culture is respected. She also called for a quadrilateral maritime exercise involving India, Australia and other Indo-Pacific countries. She pitched for strengthening the Indian Ocean Rim Association forum.
Bishop also said her country has always supported India’s bid for a seat in the United Nations Security Council “to better reflect contemporary realities. She said, As India looks to increase its energy supply security through a combination of traditional, nuclear and renewable resources to support its growth, Australia is more poised as reliable supplier of resources and technology. India and Australia have signed a nuclear cooperation agreement under which it latter can supply uranium.