03 June 2015
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews’s spokesman yesterday said Australia believed it was in the best interest of all countries for there to be “unencumbered transit” through the South China Sea, a major global shipping route.
The US sent a military plane above the contested Spratly Islands a fortnight ago and the Chinese government accused the US of “meddling” in the region.
“Australia will continue to transit the South China Sea, including conducting maritime surveillance missions consistent with our rights under international law, as it has been doing for more than three decades now,” the spokesman said.
… “Minister Andrews met with (Defence) Secretary (Ashton) Carter twice and the expansion of current operations or new missions in the South China Sea was not discussed.” Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said Australia would be taking on a major risk carrying out the flight.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 16/11/2015