South China Sea key on agenda for Australian official’s Beijing visit
BEIJING — China’s moves to assert its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea are expected to be a key agenda item during a visit to Beijing Wednesday by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Bishop’s visit comes amid tensions over Chinese building on the disputed Spratly Islands and revelations that China has also reclaimed areas in the Paracel group to the west.
The work includes construction of a military helicopter base. US network Fox News said China had moved surface-to-air missiles to the Paracels.
In an interview Monday on Japanese TV, Bishop said Australia called on all parties to cease construction work and militarization of the islands.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Tuesday said Australia should adopt an “objective and unbiased attitude” toward South China Sea matters.