New Delhi: The Chinese and Australian envoys to India got into a Twitter spat Friday as they traded barbs over the escalation of tensions in the South China Sea. This came just a day after the Australian envoy stated opposition to any “unilateral” change in status quo at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
On Friday, Beijing’s envoy to New Delhi Sun Weidong blamed Canberra for provoking escalation of tensions in the South China Sea region. His comments were in response to Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell, who had stated Thursday that Australia remains “deeply concerned” by the Chinese action in the South China Sea region that is “destabilising and could provoke escalation”.
“Noted remarks by Australian HC to India on #South China Sea disregarding facts. China’s territorial sovereignty & maritime rights and interests are in conformity w/ int’l law incl UNCLOS. It’s clear who safeguard peace and stability & who destabilize and provoke escalation in the region,” tweeted Sun.
Noted remarks by Australian HC to India on #SouthChinaSea disregarding facts. #China's territorial sovereignty & maritime rights&interests are in conformity w/ int'l law incl UNCLOS. It's clear who safeguard peace&stability & who destablize&provoke escalation in the region.
— Sun Weidong (@China_Amb_India) July 31, 2020
To this, O’Farrell asked him to follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitration.
“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,” he said.
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. https://t.co/1w2nrcrxhr
— Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) July 31, 2020
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The LAC issue
On Thursday, India also featured in the rapidly rising tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
The Australian envoy spoke on the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at the LAC, and said that it will “oppose any attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo, which only serve to increase tension and the risk of instability”.
Australia supports de-escalation of tensions between India and China, O’Farrell said, adding, “It is important that the bilaterally-agreed principles and norms that have helped prevent escalation or miscalculation in the border areas over many decades continue to be observed.”
Speaking at an event later in the day, the Chinese envoy blamed Indian troops for crossing over the LAC and clashing with the Chinese soldiers which led to the violent face-off in the Galwan Valley on 15 June.
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