Australia, France Share Serious Concerns About the South China Sea
During the Australia-France Foreign and Defence the so-called 2+2 Ministerial Consultation on Wednesday strongly opposition to destabilising or coercive actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
A joint statement by Australia and France on Wednesday highlighted the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, with the two nations agreeing on closer maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including future joint transits.
The inaugural Australia-France 2+2 ministerial consultations were held by Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Marise Payne, Australian Minister for Defence Mr. Peter Dutton, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian and French Minister of the Armed Forces Ms. Florence Parly.
France and Australia: The disputes should be resolved peacefully
The ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, the author of the statement said, expressing also the ministers’ support for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
The statement voiced “serious concerns about the situation in the South China Sea,” adding that disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Australia and France “reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight consistent with international law, and agreed to closer maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, including through future joint transits,” it said.
"The independent observers must receive access to Xinjiang"
Both nations expressed grave concern over severe human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China, and over the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, it said. In the statement, they reiterated their call for China to grant urgent, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang to independent international observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Last night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the two nations’ statement.
Australia and France are important friends and like-minded partners of Taiwan, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a statement.