Minister for Defence - Statement - Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

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Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Defence

Media contact
  • Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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27 October 2015

The United States has publicly declared its policy of conducting Freedom of Navigation operations globally, consistent with international law.

It is important to recognise that all states have a right under international law to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, including in the South China Sea. Australia strongly supports these rights.

Australia is not involved in the current United States activity in the South China Sea.

Australia has a legitimate interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded trade and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. Approximately sixty per cent of Australia’s exports pass through the South China Sea.

Australia continues to cooperate closely with the United States and other regional partners on maritime security.

Media contacts:
Henry Budd (Senator Payne's office) 0429 531 143
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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