The members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia have joined hands immediately after the Chinese announcement of building an outpost in Scarborough shoal.
The Asean-Australia cooperation intends to maintain peace and security in the disputed South China Sea. China has plans to build this outpost 230 kilometers off Zambales province. Scarborough shoal is located within an exclusive economic zone in Philippines.
The 28th Asean-Australia Forum, which was held in Canberra, concentrated on the importance of peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
Hellen de la Vega, foreign assistant secretary, has welcomed Australia's "desire to deepen engagement with the Asean and regional partners".
According to Global Nation, De la Vega, who heads the Asean affairs, described it as a "positive" development in maintaining rules based on regional order." She said disputes should always be resolved and she is glad that both Asean and Australia have agreed to sort this out. Nations should have full respect for legal issues and they should not pose threats on each other.
According to Global Nation, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said that China should not ignore the proposal to stop the work of military build-up in the South China Sea.
But if they do so, they will have to suffer a heavy loss of reputation. He also added that "by next month, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague would issue a decision on the Philippines' case to nullify China's nine-dash line."
Global Nation reports that later this year, China would start its construction on the shoal. This step will surely expand their power across the South China Sea.
The lead Philippine lawyer remarked that Philippines should also start preparing themselves for "an intergenerational struggle". This is a way might compel China to adhere to the Court's rules.