In a recent naval patrol exercise, Australia has supported US for its incursion in South China Sea. Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne backed US for its navigation efforts and called it “US-freedom-of-navigation.”
“The United States has publicly declared its policy of conducting freedom-of-navigation operations globally, consistent with international law,’’ Senator Payne said.
“It is important to recognise that all states have a right under international law to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, including in the South China Sea. Australia strongly supports these rights.’’
Payne said that Australia respects the international navigation law and supports the freedom of navigation, with flawless international trade.
On Saturday, USS Curtis Wilbur sailed near a disputed land, within a 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea, according to a report by The Australian.
China seemed unhappy with this move. The country has territorial claims over the international trade route. Several artificial island projects are underway to expand the claims. Other claimants are – Vietnam and Taiwan.
In a statement Pentagon said “This operation challenged attempts by the three claimants – China, Taiwan and Vietnam – to restrict navigation rights and freedoms”.
“This operation demonstrated, as the President [Barack Obama] and [Defence] Secretary [Ashton Carter] have stated, that we will fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows. That is true in the South China Sea, as in other places around the globe.” added Pentagon, according to a report file by AFR Weekend.
In 2015, US Destroyer USS Lessen annoyed Beijing by sailing near Spratly Islands. An agitated China accused US for violating international navigation law, according to a report by AFR Weekend.
On trade routes, Payne said that “Australia continues to cooperate closely with the United States and other regional partners on maritime security.”
In December 2015, Australia supported US for its surveillance flights over the disputed air space, by an RAAF P-3 Orion aircraft.