China warns: US – Australia’s attempt to pressure Beijing will ‘never succeed’
Earlier this week, as a part of the annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultation (AUSMIN) talks, the United States and Australia signed a new “statement of principles” in order to strengthen military cooperation to react to China’s growing aggressiveness in the Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea).
The two countries “expressed serious concerns over recent coercive and destabilizing actions across the Indo-Pacific” and agreed Beijing’s maritime claims in Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea) were “not valid under international law”.
In response to the US – Australia cooperation, China’s spokesperson stated that “[Beijing] firmly rejects and opposes the unfounded accusations and attacks against China on issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea made in the recent Joint Statement of Australia-US Ministerial Consultations”. He also added, “Their assertions, in disregard of basic facts, violated international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs.” – as reported by ABC News.
US and China do not want countries to pick a side
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a video meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Thursday, stated that Beijing does not encourage countries to take a side in its growing tension with the US.
He also accused the US of stirring up ideological opposition and forcing countries to take sides, which he said was “not a normal phenomenon in international relations nor the way it should be in interactions between countries” – wrote the South China Morning Post.
However, at a joint news conference with Australia, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a completely opposite statement to China’s accusation, affirming that “this isn’t about picking America versus China”.
Pompeo also commended Australia for standing up to China’s will and urged that the two countries should continue to work together to reassert the rule of law in Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea), where China has been pressing its claims.
Nevertheless, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, stressed that Australia never meant to worsen its relations with China, but would not make any decision that affects the country’s interests either.