Aussie lawmaker wants ‘freedom of navigation” exercised by sending ships near disputed islands

  • An Australian lawmaker wants to exercise freedom of navigation in South China Sea
  • He says there is no reason why Australia’s navy could not send ships within 12-nautical miles of contested islands
  • He also urged countries to stand up against China’s ‘bullying’ in the region

An Australian opposition lawmaker wants to test the freedom of navigation in the West Philippines Sea/ South China Sea by sending military ships within 12-nautical miles off China’s man-made islands.

Labor Party’s Stephen Conroy, the current Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Senate, reiterated that international laws allows them to sail near China’s fake islands and there is no reason why the Royal Australian Navy  could not send ships there.

“At the moment, they are not recognised as anyone’s territory and we can sail through legally, peacefully, through these alleged 12-mile limit,” Conroy explained.

The opposition leader insists the navy could sail through the contested waterways legally and peacefully since no country is trying to claim the 12-nautical miles limit, save for China.

“It’s China that’s trying to claim a 12-mile limit, outside of the international system,” he pointed out.

Standing up to ‘bully’ China

Conroy’s statement came in the wake of the meeting between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his New Zealand counterpart,  John Key, in Sydney on Friday. The two leaders joined the call for all countries to “halt land reclamation, construction and militarisation, and to take steps to ease tensions” in South China Sea. (Click here to read more)

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