The two countries are the latest to speak out after the Philippines raised concern over the continued presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea
Australia and Japan are the latest to express concern over “destabilizing actions” that could raise tensions in the highly volatile South China Sea, as a number of Chinese vessels continued to linger near Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
On Wednesday, March 24, Australia said it remained “concerned” about such moves in the international waterway, where countries should uphold the rule of law.
“We remain concerned about destabilizing actions that could provoke escalation,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said on Twitter.
“Australia supports an #IndoPacific region which is secure open and inclusive. The South China Sea – a crucial international waterway – is governed by international rules and norms, particularly UNCLOS,” he added, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Australia’s statement came just a day after both the United States and Japan spoke out on the issue, opposing any action that would drive up tension in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
“The South China Sea issues are directly related to peace & stability and a concern for all. Japan strongly opposes any action that heightens tensions. We support the enforcement of #RuleOfLaw in the sea & work with the int’l community to protect the free, open, and peaceful seas,” Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said on Twitter on Tuesday night, March 23.