13:31 GMT31 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne criticized on Wednesday the recent unsafe approach of a Chinese military ship toward US Navy cruiser in South China Sea, saying it represented Beijing's "aggressive tactics" in the region.

    "We would view any use of intimidation or aggressive tactics as destabilizing and potentially dangerous," Pyne told Guardian Australia newspaper.

    Australia has consistently expressed concern over the ongoing militarization of the South China Sea, the minister stressed.

    "We continue to urge all claimants to refrain from unilateral actions that would increase tension in the region," he added.

    READ MORE: US Sends Ships to South China Sea ‘to Create Trouble' — Chinese Envoy

    A Chinese military ship came within 45 feet of the USS Decatur near the Spratly Islands on Sunday. Following the incident, Beijing protested the US military vessel's entry into the waters near the islands, stressing that the actions of the US navy threatened China's sovereignty and regional peace.

    China and several other countries of the region — namely Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines — have disagreements over maritime borders and areas of responsibility in South China and East China Seas. China considers the Spratly Islands its territory, despite The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling which said there was no legal basis for China's maritime claims. The arbitration proceeding was initiated by the Philippines in January 2013.


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