|Julie Bishop (Image: Flickr User - UN Geneva)|
By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — Australia's top diplomat on Thursday stressed that they oppose the scale of China's reclamation and reconstruction activities in the disputed South China Sea.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Australia "certainly does not support militarization of any part of the features of the South China Sea."
The Australia's top diplomat, however, acknowledged that they are not a claimant state in the disputed waters.
"Australia's position on the South China Sea has been consistent throughout. We are not a claimant state and we recognize the need for claimant states to resolve the differences... necessary to resort to international law," Bishop said in a lunch event with members of the press at The Manila Peninsula in Makati City.
Bishop noted that the ruling released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the Philippines' complaint against China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea sends a clear advice on how to resolve the maritime dispute.
The arbitral ruling could be a basis of a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, which is being discussed by China, and claimant states with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Read the full story at PhilStar