Australian envoy continues to win Twitter battle against Chinese ambassador

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 03, 2020, 10.01 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

South China Sea Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Australian High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell and Chinese envoy to India Sun Weidong are the two officials involved in the battle, but Netizens are backing the Australian

A war of words has been playing out on Twitter with Australian and Chinese envoys targetting each other over the South China Sea. 

Australian High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell and Chinese envoy to India Sun Weidong are the two officials involved in the battle, but Netizens are backing the Australian.

On July 30, the Australian commissioner spoke about the concerns over Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

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Sun hit back to O'Farrell's comments and accused him of "disregarding facts". 

"China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests are in conformity with the international law...including the unclos," Sun said. 

The high commissioner responded with a strongly-worded tweet.

"Thank you Chinese ambassador to India. I would hope then you follow the 2016 South China Sea Arbitral Award which is final and binding under international law, and also generally refrain from actions that unilaterally alter the status quo," he said. 

South China Sea Arbitral Award is a verdict by the permanent court of arbitration in the Hague. 

In 2016, the court rejected China's claim of sovereignty over the South Sea region and said Beijing violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines in the sea. 

When the Chinese envoy has reminded this fact, he called the ruling "null and void". 

"So-called Arbitral Tribunal of South China Sea violated principle of state consent. The award is illegal, null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognises it."

Interestingly, China is a signatory of the treaty that established the tribunal, but now it does not accept its ruling. 

O'Farrell is correct in pointing out that China has unilaterally tried to change the status quo in the South China Sea.

Beijing has not only engaged with the Philippines, but has also tried to grab lands belonging to Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

What does Beijing want in the South China Sea?

The dragon has its eyes on the region's strategic and economic value. 

The South China Sea has an estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil and 190 cubic feet of natural gas. 

The Spratly Islands, for example, is rich in natural resources and fishing areas.

China began claiming the island as early as the 1970s.

The dragon has used some very vicious methods in reclaiming land in the region.

It has not just increased the size of some islands but created newer ones too. 

According to an estimate, China has created 3,200 acres of new land in the Spratly Islands since 2013. 

Beijing has built ports, military installations and airstrips in the South China Sea, particularly in the Paracel and Spratly Islands. 

China has 27 outposts and has also militarised the woody islands. 

But China does not want the international community to talk about any of this and just accept the expansionism. 

And every time a country raises its voice against Chinese provocations in the South China Sea, dragon deem it as fake news.