Japan, US, Australia oppose China's claims in South China Sea

The defense chiefs of Japan, the United States and Australia have met on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asian security forum meeting in Singapore.

In a joint statement, Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Australia's Minister of Defence Richard Marles expressed concerns about the increasingly severe security environment in the East China Sea.

With China's growing maritime assertiveness in mind, they said they strongly oppose any coercive and unilateral attempts to change the status quo and raise tensions.

The defense chiefs also shared deep concerns about the situation in the South China Sea, and agreed to strongly oppose what they called China's illegitimate assertion over its maritime interests and its activities.

They emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and said the cross-strait issue must be resolved peacefully.

They agreed to carry out concrete and practical action to secure the safety and stability of the Indo-Pacific region, including strengthening joint drills to improve their countries' readiness.

The action includes protection of foreign military assets by Japan's Self-Defense Forces, which became possible after the enactment of Japanese security legislation in 2016.