[Epoch Times, June 17, 2021](Epoch Times reporter Zhang Ting comprehensive report) On June 15, US Eastern Time, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III attended the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Enlarged Meeting. Participants included Wei Fenghe, Minister of Defense of the Communist Party of China. The meeting was held in the form of video, and many countries criticized Beijing in front of Wei Fenghe. Austin directly pointed out at the meeting that the CCP’s behavior in the South China Sea (also known as the South China Sea) is illegal.
This is the first time that US and Chinese ministers have appeared at the same public meeting since the Biden administration took office.
Austin: CCP’s behavior in the South China Sea is illegal
The US Department of Defense issued a statement on June 16, stating that Secretary of Defense Austin held a meeting with the defense ministers of ASEAN member states and ASEAN dialogue partners through video chat. In his speech, Austin clearly stated the US government’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region, and emphasized the importance of allies and partners, common principles, and a multilateral approach to security challenges, including pandemic assistance.
“He also emphasized the illegal actions of China (the CCP) in the South China Sea and urged the Myanmar military to change its course,” the statement said.
The Chinese Communist Party officially issued a statement on the meeting, saying that Wei Fenghe said at the meeting that China’s “will and determination” to defend its core interests is “unwavering” on issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and South China Sea.
The Pentagon’s statement also stated that the defense ministers formally adopted the “Joint Declaration” to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN Conference of Defense Ministers (ADMM). order.
The non-ASEAN members of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Enlarged Meeting include Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, the United States and China.
Japanese Defense Minister: Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is important
Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi not only mentioned the dispute between the East China Sea and the South China Sea, but also directly pointed out the importance of Taiwan Strait security. Nobuo Kishi said at the meeting that emphasizing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is not only important for the region, but also for the international community. In addition, he also pointed out that Japan expects that the position of the parties involved in solving problems through direct dialogue and peaceful resolution will remain unchanged.
CCP Maritime Police Law is condemned
According to the Philippine online news network Rappler, the defense ministers of ASEAN member states expressed concern at the meeting about the CCP’s continued activities in the South China Sea, especially the maritime police law passed by Beijing earlier this year. The law authorizes the CCP’s Coast Guard to use “all necessary means” to deter or prevent threats from foreign ships. The law also allows boarding inspections of foreign ships in “waters claimed by China (the CCP)” and the demolition of structures built by other countries on islands and reefs along the disputed territories.
According to the Philippine Department of Defense, the defense ministers pointed out that the application of the law in the South China Sea is very vague, and other ASEAN member states such as Indonesia and Vietnam also have sovereignty claims in the region.
Nobuo Kishi stated that the law’s provisions on the applicable maritime areas and the authority to use weapons are not clear; from the point of view of integration with international law, it is contradictory. The CCP’s Coastal Police Law cannot harm the legitimate rights and interests of relevant countries.
The defense ministers also emphasized the importance of freedom of navigation and the early issuance of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. The guidelines are expected to smooth out disputes in some disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Editor in charge: Lin Yan#