Japanese, Australian leaders share concern over East, South China Seas

(VOVWORLD) -The Prime Minister of Japan and Australia shared their concerns about developments in the East and South China Seas during a videoconference on Thursday, a Japanese government spokesman said.

Scott Morrison and Abe Shinzo affirmed their support for neighboring countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia in coping with COVID-19, ensuring safety and health care, and promoting economic recovery and sustainable development. The two confirmed they will sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year and said that both Australia and Japan are working hard to promote relations with ASEAN, which has a central role in the region.

They reaffirmed their strong opposition to any unilateral and coercive actions that alter the status quo or increase tensions in the South China Sea (called the East Sea in Vietnam) and expressed deep concern over recent developments there, including militarization of disputed features, the use of security vessels for intimidation, and attempts to sabotage other countries' resource exploitation.

The two leaders also reaffirmed that freedom of navigation and over flight in the South China Sea should be respected and all disputes should be resolved peacefully, in accordance with international law as stimulated in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).