Tokyo [Japan], June 9 (ANI): Japan and Australia's foreign and defense ministers on Wednesday expressed strong concerns over the oppressive coast guard law passed by China earlier this year, and called for it to be more consistent with international law.
In a joint statement after their virtual 2+2 talks, Japan and Australia also voiced concerns over reported human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, reported Sputnik.
"We reinforce our strong opposition to any destabilizing or coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions in the East China Sea ... In this context, we express our concerns over China's Coast Guard Law and reaffirm that the actions of a state's coast guard must be consistent with international law," the joint statement read.
"We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues," the statement further said.
Regarding the situation in Hong Kong, both sides urged the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to "uphold their commitments to the Hong Kong people", according to Sputnik.
In February, China enacted a law that permits its coast guards to destroy other countries' structures and use force when defending Beijing's maritime claims in disputed areas, leading to criticism from several countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)