- Australia sided with the Philippines regarding the territorial dispute with China
- Australia’s Foreign Minister urged China to respect the ruling as final and binding
- The foreign minister also promised that Australia would help in defending the court ruling
The Philippines has found a new ally in defending the international rule of law. Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister of Australia, has sided with the Philippines against China on the issue of the territorial dispute over the South China Sea.
Bishop commented that China’s reputation would greatly suffer if it ignores the ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague. The verdict states that China’s claim over the disputed waters is illegal and invalid.
The arbitral ruling also states that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign and economic rights and destroyed coral reefs in the area.
Beijing, even before the court ruling was announced, had rejected the arbitral tribunal ruling. China says that the PCA in The Hague had no jurisdiction over the matter and that only the involved parties should settle the territorial dispute issue.
“To ignore it would be a serious international transgression,” Australia’s foreign minister said. Bishop explained that China’s rise a real world superpower would be harmed if it rejects the court ruling, which Australia considers as final and binding on all the parties involved.
She also urged all of the claimants of the South China Sea to resolve their issues in a diplomatic and peaceful manner. Bishop added that Australia will continue to defend its international rights to navigation and overflight freedom and the rights of other countries.
Lu Kang, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, protested against Bishop’s recent comments.
“Honestly speaking, I’m a bit shocked at Bishop’s comments… “We hope that Australia can set more store by international law, and not treat it as a game,” the spokesman said.
He added that Beijing is hoping that Australia would not do anything that would harm the peace and stability in the region. -Kami Media