New York [US], July 25 (ANI): In a move that would infuriate China, Australia on Saturday backed the United States in declaring Beijing territorial claims in the South China Sea to be illegal.
In a letter to the United Nations, Australia's permanent mission rejected the Chinese Communist Party's claim to disputed islands in the crucial trading waters, calling them "inconsistent" with international law, ABC News reported.
"The Australian government rejects any claims by China that are inconsistent with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in particular, maritime claims that do not adhere to its rules on baselines, maritime zones and classification of features," the document states.
"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, including around the 'Four Sha' or 'continental' or 'outlying' archipelagos," it added.
The South China Sea is grouped into three archipelagos. China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its sovereign territory and it has aggressively asserted its stake in recent years.
This comes weeks after the United States officially dismissed China's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea and termed Beijing's campaign of bullying to control them as "completely unlawful."
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on July 13 issued a statement on the US position on Maritime claims in the South China Sea, saying that the Chinese government has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region.
Washington announced that it is aligning the US position on the Chinese government's claims in the South China sea with the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal's decision. (ANI)