In a joint statement on January 21, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defense Peter Dutton together with U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Elizabeth Truss and Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace  reiterated their strong opposition to actions that raise tensions, including the militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia and efforts to disrupt other countries’ utilization of their offshore resources.

The East Sea

They reiterated that the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal decision relating to the East Sea is final and binding on the parties. Both sides emphasized that any Code of Conduct must fully accord with international law, in particular the UNCLOS 1982, not prejudice the rights or interests of States under international law or undermine existing inclusive regional architecture. Maritime claims, and the implementation of domestic legislation must be consistent with the UNCLOS 1982.

In the joint statement, the ministers renewed their support for an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region in which the sovereign rights of all nations are respected. They reaffirmed their commitment to working with partners to shape a region underpinned by rules and norms and that is free from coercion, and where disputes are settled peacefully and in accordance with international law.

The two sides  welcomed the enhancement of their countries’ relationships with ASEAN, including the establishment of an ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the U.K.’s new status as an official ASEAN Dialogue Partner. Australia and the U.K. strongly support ASEAN centrality, ASEAN-led regional architecture, and practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, they said.

Source: VNA