Canberra: Tribunal ruling on South China Sea reflects international law, should be implemented

“We believe that [ruling] reflects international law and we support a rules-based international order,” Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely said at the BusinessMirror Coffee Club Forum on Wednesday. She noted that the decision of the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague “is a very important and fundamental value and principle that is at the core of Australian foreign policy.”
Gorely’s statement was in reply to a question on how Australia feels about China’s militarization of some reclaimed islands and features in the SCS.
She was asked how they would react to China’s continued construction in some features in the SCS when Australia’s own military has participated in freedom of navigation operations, together with the United States Navy, two years ago.
It was reported that despite the ruling that the nine-dash line is illegal, China continues to improve the facilities of the islands it has reclaimed.
A US think thank has reported during the last quarter of 2017 that China has not only built but has added new military facilities, such as missile installations and radar-antenna arrays on islands in the SCS.
The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.
The US has criticized China’s buildup of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the SCS, an important route where an estimated $5.3 trillion worth of global trade passes.