Australia urged China on Friday to refrain from the “militarisation of islands” to avoid walking into a conflict, a day after the United States slammed Beijing for deploying missiles in the disputed South China Sea. China said Thursday it had weapons on one of the islands in the strategically important region, which US Secretary of State John Kerry said was evidence of an “increase of militarisation” and a “serious concern”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was critical for the region’s prosperity that China and the US used international law to resolve their disputes. “We urge all claimants in the South China Sea to refrain from any building of islands, any militarisation of islands, any land reclamation,” Turnbull said in a joint press conference with his New Zealand counterpart John Key in Sydney. READ MORE