Australian warships `confronted` by Chinese Navy in disputed South China Sea

Australian warships `confronted` by Chinese Navy in disputed South China Sea”

The declaration to the United Nations said "Australia rejects China's claim to "historic rights" or "maritime rights and interests" as established in the "long course of historical practice" in the South China Sea".

"China Sea disputes must be resolved through worldwide law", he said in a tweet.

The Global Times newspaper said Australia's bold challenge to Beijing's ownership of disputed islands in the South China Sea was a reckless provocation, amid bilateral relations which have "already drastically soured".

The report comes after Trump administration toughened its stance on Beijing's maritime claims regarding the South China Sea.

Australia is the latest in a small but emerging chorus of nations that are describing as illegal China's position that it holds economic and maritime rights to almost all of the South China Sea.

In a letter to the United Nations, Australia's permanent mission rejected the Chinese Communist Party's claim to disputed islands in the crucial trading waters, calling them "inconsistent" with worldwide law.

"Australia rejects China's claim to "historic rights" or "maritime rights and interests" as established in the "long course of historical practice" in the South China Sea", read the declaration. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam contest China's claims.

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In its note to the U.N., Australia cites a 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration to explain why China's claims aren't supported by worldwide law.

About $3 trillion worth of trade passes through the waterway each year. China has designed bases atop atolls in the region but says its intentions are tranquil.

Washington announced that it is aligning the United States place on the Chinese government's promises in the South China Sea with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal's selection.

The United States has very long opposed China's expansive territorial claims on the South China Sea, sending warships regularly by means of the strategic waterway to display independence of navigation.

Since then, China has brought in harsh trade tariffs which hit Australian farmers, including an 80 per cent tariff on barley.

Australia's filing comes ahead of a planned meeting in Washington next week between the USA and Australian defense and foreign ministers.

Diplomatic tension between China and Australia has worsened recently over various issues including an Australian call for an global enquiry into the novel coronavirus, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late a year ago.

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