Australia’s foreign minister urges for peaceful resolution of Sikkim standoff

Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop, on Tuesday, called for a peaceful resolution of the standoff between Chinese and Indian troops at Dokalam in Sikkim sector, an issue which she discussed during her meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior cabinet ministers.

"My understanding is this it is long-standing dispute ...It was a subject of discussion today. Australia's position is that border disputes, territorial disputes should be resolved peacefully between the claimant countries...We don't want to see any escalation of tensions which could lead to a miscalculation or misjudgement," Bishop told a group of reporters.

The visiting Aussie minister also said, "In the case of maritime disputes we said it should be subjected to arbitration under the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea), if necessary. Land disputes should be resolved peacefully between the competing claimants and urge the countries to do that."

When questioned about India’s refusal to allow Australia to join the recently concluded Malabar naval exercises, she said Australia remained keen to join but it was up to each country to decide who they wanted to work with. She noted India and Australia had recently concluded the second round of their bilateral naval exercises.

On the issue of Beijing and recent surveys showing the Australian public had among the most positive views about China, she said her country had a “positive engagement with China”.

This comes in light of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s recent successful visit to Australia which now completes his travell to every one of the country’s states and territories.

“But Beijing has an increasingly assertive foreign policy and we do not see eye-to-eye on everything, including the South China Sea,” Bishop said.


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