The U.S. and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, after describing China’s new Maritime Traffic Safety Law as lacking any “legal basis.”
amely, in a joint statement the two countries expressed their concerns regarding China’s expansive maritime claims. In fact,top officials urged China to implement its domestic legislation, including the Maritime Traffic Safety Law, in a manner consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The principals reiterated their strong opposition to the militarization of disputed features and other destabilizing actions, including the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activitied
the joint statement reads.
The statement comes after the announcement of a new UK-US-Australia defense cooperation partnership, dubbed “AUKUS,” which will see Australia develop a fleet of nuclear-powered attack subs with British and American assistance.
Furthermore, the U.S and Australia intend to enhance carry out maritime exercises with several partners in order to advance peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Currently, China is facing criticism after enacting a new maritime law that requires certain foreign vessels sailing into Chinese “territorial waters” to notify Beijing in advance.
More specfically, this law requires advance notice from foreign submarines; nuclear-powered ships; ships carrying radioactive, toxic or hazardous materials; and any other vessels that “may endanger the maritime traffic safety” of China.
Commenting on the allegations, Chinese diplomat Lijian Zhao, noted that:
The nuclear submarine cooperation among the US, the UK and Australia severely undermines regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race and undercuts international non-proliferation efforts