Australia to China: Act with great responsibility in South China Sea

Australia is calling on China to act with great responsibility in South China Sea amid overlapping claims with ASEAN countries.

“As the exhortation goes, “to those that much is given, much is expected”, similarly for nation states, for those with great power comes great responsibility, and so I call on China to act with great responsibility in the South China Sea,” Australia Minister of Defence Christopher Pyne said at the
7th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Fullerton Forum: The Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting in Singapore on January 28.

“There is no gain in stifling China’s growth and prosperity,” he said. “This is not an agenda in any capital that I know.”

“China has received strong support from major economies – including Australia – in integrating its own economy with systems that have helped underpin and consolidate its growth, most notably the World Trade Organisation,” he said.

Pyne said Australia is “not interested in containing China, but we are interested in engaging and encouraging China to exercise its power in ways that increase regional trust and confidence.”

He explained that the building and militarisation of artificial features in the South China Sea has not increased regional confidence in China’s strategic intentions.

“The Indo-Pacific we aspire to is one underpinned by the rules‑based order, which is open, inclusive, robust and free of coercion. As such, we welcome China’s contributions to global security, including its participation in UN peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief, and anti-piracy operations,” he said.