Sydney: Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has said the country has a stake in ensuring that the territory dispute in the East China Sea is resolved.
Carr said that the country will look to balance the rise of China without threatening the role of the US in the region.
“Our national interest is to ensure the great success story of this century, the Asian economic transformation, is not distracted by strategic competition in the South China Sea,” Carr said during a conference in Sydney.
In an interview after the speech, Carr said Australia won’t take any side in the territorial disputes, but will instead push for a resolution under international laws.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a number of Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have competing claims with China in the sea and have been pressing other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to agree a binding code for behaviour in the resource-rich area.
He pointed to the Antarctic Treaty system as a potential model, which came into effect in 1961 with the aim of demilitarising Antarctica and setting aside territorial disputes.
“A second option would be to establish joint development zones, similar to those already operating in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean”, Carr said.
Carr said that tensions over the basing of US troops in Australia won’t prevent the nation from playing a mediating role in the South China Sea dispute, adding there is ‘ample scope’ for Australia to exert its influence in the region.
The foreign minister’s remarks come as Australia is chasing for a seat in the United Nations Security Council in a vote due next month, the report added.