Australian, Chinese Envoys’ Bitter Tweet Exchange Over South China Sea

Australian, Chinese Envoys’ Bitter Tweet Exchange Over South China Sea

  • On Thursday, Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farre said Australia remains deeply concerned by Chinese actions in the South China Sea that are “destabilising and could provoke escalation”.
  • The resource-rich South China Sea is also an important shipping route.

New Delhi: 

Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell on Friday hit back at Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong for objecting to his comments about Chinese actions the South China Sea, and asserted that Beijing should refrain from actions that could unilaterally alter the status quo in the region.

On Thursday, Mr O’Farrell said Australia remains deeply concerned by Chinese actions in the South China Sea that are “destabilising and could provoke escalation”. The resource-rich South China Sea is also an important shipping route.

In a tweet later, Mr Sun took objection to the Australian diplomat’s remarks and said they were made “disregarding facts”.

Mr O’Farrell, in his strong response, reminded the Chinese envoy about the verdict by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2016, that rejected China’s claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea region.

“Thank you @China_Amb_India. I would hope then you follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally alter the status quo,” the Australian high commissioner tweeted.

In its verdict, the international tribunal, constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) said that China had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines by carrying out certain activities in the South China Sea.