Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Washington DC [US], September 18 (ANI): US and Australia on Friday reiterated their support for an international rules-based order and emphasized the importance of holding the Taliban accountable to their commitment to build an inclusive society.

This message was conveyed by the two countries after US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Australian Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Kathryn Campbell in Washington DC on Friday.

"Deputy Secretary Sherman and DFAT Secretary Campbell reiterated their support for the international rules-based order and emphasized the importance of holding the Taliban accountable to their commitment to build an inclusive society, allow humanitarian access, and permit the orderly and safe departure of Afghans and other nationals," the US State Department said in a statement.

The two leaders also discussed economic recovery and resilience in the Indo-Pacific region and pandemic preparedness, as well as Australia's resistance to China's economic coercion.Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

A day earlier, the US and Australia expressed concerns regarding China's expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea and called on Beijing to implement relevant domestic legislation, including the Maritime Traffic Safety Law, in a manner consistent with UNCLOS.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton on September 16 in Washington for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021).

The two countries called on China to grant urgent, meaningful, and unfettered access to Xinjiang for independent international observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"The Secretaries and Ministers conveyed ongoing concern regarding the People's Republic of China's (PRC) expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea that are without legal basis, called on the PRC to implement relevant domestic legislation, including the Maritime Traffic Safety Law, in a manner consistent with UNCLOS, and reiterated that the 2016 Arbitral Award is final and legally binding on the parties," the statement added. (ANI)

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