July 25 (EIRNS)—Australia now appears to be all-in with the United States in confronting China in the South China Sea, as indicated by a declaration issued by Australia’s UN mission on July 24. “There is no legal basis for China to draw straight baselines connecting the outermost points of maritime features or ‘island groups’ in the South China Sea,” the mission wrote in a letter to the UN “Australia rejects China’s claim to ‘historic rights’ or ‘maritime rights and interests’ as established in the ‘long course of historical practice’ in the South China Sea.”
The move aligns Australia with the Trump Administration, which earlier this month reversed a previous policy of not taking sides in such disputes, Bloomberg notes. The letter comes ahead of a visit to Washington, next week, of Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds for meetings with their American counterparts in the so-called 2+2 format.
The Australians are also all-in militarily. After participating an exercise with the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group in the Philippine Sea, the Australian military has sent “an impressive fleet of fighters, tankers, and an airborne early warning aircraft “ to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, as part of the Regional Presence Deployment, in which Japan is also participating. “The series of events are designed to act as a clear example of how the U.S. is partnering with regional allies amid concerns over security in the Indo-Pacific area, including the South China Sea,” reports The War Zone website.