彩票代理

China, Australia envoys spar on Twitter

作者:admin 2020-08-01

Hindustantimes          

New Delhi: The Chinese and Australian envoys to India had a terse exchange on Twitter on Friday on China’s actions in the South China Sea and elsewhere, with the latter saying Beijing should refrain from actions that “unilaterally alter the status quo”.

Sun Weidong, the Chinese envoy, objected to remarks made by the Australian high commissioner, Barry O’Farrell, regarding the situation in the South China Sea by saying in a tweet that they were made “disregarding facts”.

“Noted remarks by Australian HC to India on #SouthChinaSea disregarding facts. #China’s territorial sovereignty & maritime rights & interests are in conformity [with] int’l law incl UNCLOS [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea]. It’s clear who safeguard peace & stability & who destabilize & provoke escalation in the region,” Sun tweeted.

A short while later, O’Farrell responded in a tweet: “Thank you @China_Amb_India. I would hope then you follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally alter the status quo.”

O’Farrell was referring to the verdict by the arbitral tribunal in the Philippines’ case against China’s activities in the South China Sea. The tribunal ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the Philippines and concluded that China’s territorial claims were unlawful. China didn’t accept the verdict.

China’s claims in the South China Sea have been challenged by several countries, including the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

Sun’s tweet was a response to remarks by O’Farrell in a statement issued by the Australian mission after his meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday. O’Farrell backed India’s position on the border standoff with China, saying Australia opposed attempts to unilaterally alter the status quo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as this could increase the risk of instability.

The statement said Australia continues to be concerned by China’s actions in the South China Sea, which are “destabilising and could provoke escalation”. On July 23, Australia had lodged a note with the UN Secretary General refuting China’s “unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea”.

While Sun didn’t respond to O’Farrell’s comments on the border standoff, he took exception to the references to the South China Sea.

The Chinese envoy also faced criticism from former Indian diplomats and military officials for his comments during a webinar on India-China relations held on Thursday.

During the webinar, Sun sought to blame India for both the border standoff and the June 15 clash at Galwan Valley that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and unspecified Chinese casualties. He also sought to imply that India’s position on interpreting the LAC could lead to new disputes, and that this was one of the reasons why the process for clarifying the disputed had stalled since 2002.

Responding to these remarks, former army chief Gen VP Malik tweeted: “By his statement yesterday, #Ambassador Sun Weidong of China has virtually ended any possible progress in LAC talks between military commanders.”

Former ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, distinguished fellow for foreign policy studies at Gateway House, described the Chinese envoy’s address at the webinar as a “classic dialogue of the deaf”. Bhatia added: “He talks at, not to, us.”

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