New Delhi [India], July 30 (ANI): Australia is deeply concerned by destabilising actions in the South China Sea and lodged a note with UN Secretary-General last week refusing China's unlawful maritime claims, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O'Farrell said on Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, O'Farrell said Australia rejects China's claims to historic rights and internal waters in relation to the South China Sea.
"We remain deeply concerned by actions in the South China Sea that are destabilising and could provoke escalation. Last week, Australia launched a note with UN Secretary-General refusing China's unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea," he said.
"Following a 2016 tribunal which ruled against China's claims, Australia rejects China's claims to historic rights and internal waters," he added.
The Australian government has rejected any claims by China that are not consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Referring to border tensions between India and China, he said Australia supports continued moves by India for de-escalation.
In a veiled criticism of China, the envoy said Australia opposes any attempts to unilaterally alter status-quo as it only increases tension and instability.
"Australia urges restrain at LAC and supports continued moves by India for de-escalation. In my meeting with EAM today, I told him Australia opposes any attempts to unilaterally alter status-quo which only increase tension and instability," he said.
"It is important that bilaterally agreed principles and norms, which help prevent escalation, continue to be observed," he added.
The Australian envoy also lauded India's swift and decisive actions, particularly the early lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and said it clearly saved lives.
"India used its lockdown to increase the number of COVID-19 hospitals, isolations beds and also strengthened its testing and health system generally," he said.
He called for steps to increase trade and investment between Australia and India and noted that India is going for economic reforms to attract investments.
"As businesses around the world want to diversify, we wish to increase trade and investment between our countries," he said. (ANI)