Malaysia on Wednesday required countries to refrain from “military posturing” amidst stress in the South China Sea, 2 days after Washington revealed a harder position on Beijing’s territorial claims in the objected to waterway.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein required cooperation amongst Southeast Asian nations in fixing stress in the maritime area as he made his first public talk about the South China Sea in almost 3 months.
“We have to avoid military posturing as it is not going to help in solving the problem, and we need all the ASEAN countries to agree on that … Right now we seem to be on the same page and that’s the only way we can face off with China and the U.S.,” he stated throughout a press conference about a variety of problems on the sidelines of a parliamentary session in Kuala Lumpur.
“Malaysia is too small to be able to find solution to this on our own.”
In current weeks, both China and the United States have actually performed marine workouts or maneuvers in the South China Sea. In early July, the U.S. Navy cruised 2 carrier groups into the waterway after China’s navy staged a workout in the Paracel Islands.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the world would not permit Beijing to deal with the objected to waterway as “its maritime empire,” and Washington stood with its Southeast Asian allies “in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources.”
The next day, Beijing shot back. Its embassy to the United States implicated Washington of continuing to “interfere” in the South China Sea problem and “stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region” along with bending its muscles “under the pretext of preserving stability.”
Malaysia and 3 other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc– the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei– together with China and Taiwan have competing claims in the sea area, where Beijing has actually been developing synthetic islands and military setups in locations it inhabits.
“[M] y stand is really clear we will not jeopardize of our sovereignty, the geopolitics of [the] superpower [rivalry] in between the U.S. and China, that is for them to settle and it is not a basic matter. It is a really complicated matter,” stated Hishammuddin, who ended up being Malaysia’s leading diplomat after the Periktan Haripan federal government took power in early March.
The brand-new federal government has actually kept reasonably peaceful on the South China Sea problem, even as international stress increased in or near Malaysian territorial waters in April after a Chinese study ship released close to a Malaysian-contracted oil expedition vessel, the West Capella. The Chinese ship was accompanied by ships from the China Coast Guard. In reaction, the United States and Australia sent out warships to the location.
At the time, Malaysia’s coast guard stated it was keeping track of the study ship’s motions, however it had “not done any activities that break the laws.”
A couple of days later on, Hishammuddin provided a declaration stating that territorial problems in the sea area must be resolved in harmony based upon the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
On Wednesday, he echoed a comment he made back in April by stating he feared that military posturing might lead to “mishaps or occurrences occurring on the high seas that [could] wind up in war.”
At the press conference, the foreign minister likewise stated that “there are no more China ships in our waters,” when a press reporter asked him about an auditor-general’s freshly released report, which exposed that Chinese navy or coast guard ships had actually horned in Malaysian waters off Borneo Island 89 times in between 2016 and 2019.
In spite of the current remarks by the foreign minister, vessel tracking information shows that Chinese ships have actually been horning in Malaysia’s special financial zone for months.
The China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel 5204 was patrolling around the Luconia Shoals, from May 22 to July 7, according to the information. China declares the shoals, which sits within 200 nautical miles (370 km) off Malaysia’s coast, as part of its area.
The Chinese ship was consequently changed by CCG vessel 5202, which cruised into Luconia Shoals on the exact same day that the 5204 left. The 5202 was still in the location stays since Wednesday early morning.
Nevertheless, while reacting to a follow- up concern from a press reporter, Hishammuddin acknowledged that both American and chinese ships had actually remained in Malaysian waters just recently.
“Yes, they were there and the U.S. was ship was also there. So what do we do? In that sort of situation we just have to make sure that … they don’t collide and they don’t stay in our waters. That’s the best diplomacy that we can do,” he stated.
Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.