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  • China efforts to undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework
  • PRCs campaign of repression of Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang
  • Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region
  • Beijing’s maritime cannot assert claims in the South China Sea 
  • Development of the 5G network and expressed to work with like-minded partners to develop end-to-end technical solutions for 5G

Washington: On the occasion of the 30th Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper hosted by Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds.

The parties discussed various issues and expressed their concern about the People’s Republic of China government’s efforts to undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework. Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, there has been a violation of the freedom and autonomy of Hong Kong. The Secretaries and the Ministers noted that both the US and Australia are taking several actions and steps to suspend their extradition treaties each Hong Kong as a result of PRC’s actions. They repeated their support to the people of Hong Kong to be able to elect Legislative Council representatives through free and fair elections. PRC’s campaign of repression of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang including forced labour, reports of forced abortions, and many more are also a matter of concern.

The parties again strongly stated Taiwan’s significant role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan. They also discussed supporting Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a condition. They highlighted the recent events that strengthened their resolve to support Taiwan. They committed to enhance donor coordination with the member state with a focus on development assistance to Pacific Island countries.

Coming next to the South China Sea issue, the parties said that the PRC cannot declare maritime claims based on the nine-dash line, historic rights of entire South China Sea islands group which is contradictory with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). All the claims made on the South China Sea should be resolved in accordance with international law.

They also expressed their support for the rights of claimants to lawfully exploit offshore resources, including in relation to long-standing oil and gas projects as well as fisheries in the South China Sea, free from harassment and coercion.  They welcomed the recent ASEAN Leaders statement that a South China Sea Code of Conduct should be consistent with UNCLOS and emphasized that any Code should not prejudice the rights or interests of States under international law or undermine existing regional architecture, and should strengthen the commitment of parties not to engage in actions that complicate or escalate disputes, notable militarization of disputed features.

Coming to the malicious behaviour in cyberspace both the principals have shown their concern. They discussed the various cyber crimes that targeted sensitive business information including information relating to the development of vaccines and treatments for pandemic response, presents an increasing threat to the global economy, and they committed to holding malicious actors accountable.

The Ministers and Secretaries discussed the 5G network. The principals noted the role of 5G network security best practices, such as the Prague Proposals, and expressed their intent to work with like-minded partners to develop end-to-end technical solutions for 5G that use trusted vendors.  Acknowledging that 5G is only the starting point, the two nations also reaffirm their commitment to lifting the security of critical and emerging technologies that will be vital to our nations’ prosperity.


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