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World


India's engagement in South China Sea is welcomed, says Australia

India's engagement in South China Sea is welcomed, says Australia
Christopher Pyne

Sydney, Jan 28 (UNI) The Australian Defence Minister on Monday said that India's engagement in the South China Sea is welcomed by Australia and urged China to act responsibly by avoiding the “might is right” approach to diplomacy .

Christopher Pyne, Australian Defence Minister in Fullerton Forum security conference in Singapore said that "Australia would "welcome India's engagement" in the South China Sea. I think that India don't want to see themselves being drawn into rivalry that is unnecessarily unhelpful to them economically or geo-strategically. They are a great power in their own right…and they will make their own decisions.

The Minister called on Beijing to act responsibly in the South China Sea and avoid mimicking Russia's "might is right" approach to diplomacy.He urged Beijing to rethink its approach to the politically-charged waters of the South China Sea, arguing the world power was eroding regional confidence and increasing anxiety, reports Australian business and finance newspaper, The Australian Financial Review.

"Resolving disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with international law would build confidence in China's willingness to support and champion a strategic culture that respects the rights of all states.

"As the exhortation goes, to those that much is given, much is expected; similarly for nation states, for those with great power comes great responsibility, and so I call on China to act with great responsibility in the South China Sea."

Welcoming Japan's increased spending on self-defence forces and its $340 billion build-up of military wares over the next five years, the Minister said "Australia strongly supports Japan's efforts to build and modernise their sovereign capabilities, and to play a strategic role in the Indo-Pacific that is commensurate with their great economic strength,"

The minister also pledged Australian support for multilateral engagement with countries like the US, Canada, New Zealand, France, Japan and others in the South China Sea, if required, to remind Beijing they are international waters.

"It's a simplistic and unsophisticated characterisation of what is a much more complex and dynamic geo-strategic paradigm," Mr Pyne said.

"Any division of the region into Cold War-like blocs is doomed to failure since it would necessitate false choices between prosperity and security."

He also cautioned against viewing US-China rivalry purely in adversarial terms and distanced Canberra from efforts to isolate China economically "We are not interested in containing China, but we are interested in engaging and encouraging China to exercise its power in ways that increase regional trust and confidence," he said in his speech.

Two years ago at the security summit, former foreign minister Julie Bishop prompted an angry response from Beijing when she referred to China as a "non-democracy" while urging the US to increase its engagement in the Indo-Pacific.

UNI XC KPV 1650

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