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Territorial tensions becoming more challenging in South China Sea, Taiwan: Australian envoy

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New Delhi | September 17, 2021 2:46:04 PM IST
Amid growing competition in the Indo-Pacific region, Australian High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell on Friday said territorial tensions are becoming more challenging in places like the South China Sea, Taiwan and elsewhere in the region.

His comment comes as US President Joe Biden and leaders of two other nations launched the newly-formed AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) defence partnership pact on Wednesday that focuses on the Indo-Pacific. Experts believe it is a veiled way of confronting China's growing military aggression in the region.

"Great power competition is intensifying and territorial tensions becoming more challenging in the South China Sea, Taiwan and elsewhere," said the Australian High Commissioner.

Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

Further speaking on the new defence pact, O'Farrell said Australia is striving to attain inclusive regional order where the rights of all states are respected.

"We want to contribute strategic reassurance measures that ensure no one country believes they can advance their strategic ambitions to conflict," said the Australian High Commissioner.

"It's not about provoking particular regime or power, but about ensuring whether we've capabilities that can contribute along with India and other countries to return to the type of behaviour that threatens peace and security in India-pacific today and in future," O'Farrell added.

China on Thursday reacted sharply to the development, stating that the newly-formed defence partnership threatens stability in the region and would provoke an arms race.

Speaking at daily briefing Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the AUKUS treaty "seriously undermines regional peace and stability, intensifies the arms race, and harms international non-proliferation efforts."

Meanwhile, the AUKUS nations have said they are committed to enduring ideals and a shared commitment to the international rules-based order.

"We resolve to deepen diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century," the joint statement said. (ANI)

 
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