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Australian Government concerns about recent actions in the South China Sea

International relations

The Australian Government shares the grave concerns of the Philippines Government about a pattern of dangerous actions conducted by Chinese vessels against Philippines vessels and crew in the South China Sea, including incidents near Scarborough Shoal and at Second Thomas Shoal on 9-10 December.

Actions by the Chinese Coast Guard and other Chinese vessels, such as water cannoning and ramming, endanger the peace and security of the region, threaten lives and livelihoods, and create risks of miscalculation.

Australia has consistently opposed destabilising and coercive actions in the South China Sea, such as unsafe encounters at sea and in the air and the militarisation of disputed features.

Australia emphasises the importance of all states being able to exercise rights and freedoms, including freedom of navigation, in a manner consistent with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Australia reiterates that the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award is final and legally binding on the parties.

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