Australia has rejected Beijing’s territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea in a formal declaration to the UN.
In a statement filed on Thursday, Australia said there was “no legal basis” to several disputed Chinese claims in the sea, including those related to the construction of artificial islands on small shoals and reefs.
“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,” the declaration read.
“There is no legal basis for China to draw straight baselines connecting the outermost points of maritime features or ‘island groups’ in the South China Sea, including around the ‘Four Sha’ or ‘continental’ or ‘outlying’ archipelagos,” it read.
“Four sha,” or four sands (四沙), refers to Beijing’s claim over the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島), the Paracels (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島), the Spratlys (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島), and an island group that includes Macclesfield Bank (Zhongsha Islands, 中沙群島), all of which are also claimed by Taiwan.
The declaration came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Beijing’s pursuit of territory and resources in the South China Sea to be illegal, explicitly backing the territorial claims of Southeast Asian countries against China’s.
Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea based on a so-called “nine-dash line,” a vague delineation from maps dating back to the 1940s.
The latest escalation comes ahead of annual talks between Australia and the US, with Australian ministers to travel to Washington for the first time since Canberra closed the nation’s borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meetings come at a “critical time” and it is essential that they are held face-to-face, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Australian Minister of Defence Linda Reynolds said in a statement yesterday.
Payne and Reynolds also penned an article in the Australian newspaper, labeling national security legislation that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong last month as “sweeping and vague.”
“We face a public health crisis, economic upheaval and resurgent authoritarian regimes using coercion in a bid to gain power and influence at the expense of our freedoms and sovereignty,” they wrote.
Additional reporting by staff writer
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
SKIN, ENTRAILS: Placards also dotted the legislative chamber, with slogans such as ‘Oppose ractopamine pork — not US pork’ and ‘Much ado about nothing’ Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday pelted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with pig skin and entrails as he addressed the Legislative Yuan on pork imports for the first time since the KMT’s boycott began on Sept. 18. Opposition lawmakers have been demanding an apology from the government for its decision to lift its ban on the importation of US pork containing residues of the livestock drug ractopamine. After Su arrived at 10am for his 13th attempt to deliver a regular policy report, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus moved to change the agenda to accommodate the premier. The motion resulted in cries of
CECC RULES: The autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program, including mandatory mask wearing in eight types of public venues and indoor facilities, begins today A temporary, two-week ban on Indonesian migrant workers entering the nation is to begin on Friday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday as it reported 24 new imported cases of COVID-19. Twenty of the new cases are Indonesian migrant workers who arrived between Nov. 11 and Friday last week, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The cases were discovered during a special project on Friday to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on all 939 recently arrived Indonesian migrant workers in centralized quarantine facilities, as the majority of imported cases in the past
Passports with a redesigned cover highlighting Taiwan would be issued starting on Jan. 11, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The new cover design, which was announced on Sept. 2, highlights Taiwan by printing the word in a larger font. While the new passport cover retains “the Republic of China” in Chinese, the English name is printed along the outer circle of the national emblem, which would enable other nations to clearly identify that it is a Taiwanese passport, not a Chinese passport, the ministry said. The costs and application procedures for the new version are the same as