Malaysia insists peace, non-militarisation in South China Sea

Pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA is insisting that the South China Sea remains a peaceful trade route where all parties must ensure the area’s safety and avoid provocations.

In a parliamentary reply yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia’s position on the South China Sea includes all parties’ need to ensure safety, security and stability, as well as freedom of navigation and overflight.

Secondly, he stated that all parties should practice self-restraint to avoid tense and provocative and militarisation.

He was responding to Setiu MP Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir who asked about Wisma Putra’s reaction following the action of major countries sending warships to the area.

Saifuddin said his ministry is aware of the presence of foreign warships in the South China Sea, where they are operating under navigation freedom, which is a common practice by international naval vessels.

The country’s stance is also consistently voiced on regional and international platforms, on top of the government’s diplomatic approach with relevant countries.

Malaysia reiterated its position during the recent 54th Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings where Saifuddin said the issue should be resolved peacefully through a diplomatic approach in line with the principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

“To ensure peace and sovereignty in the country’s waters, the Foreign Affairs Ministry together with the National Security Council, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Royal Malaysian Navy are always committed and give due attention specifically on security in national waters.

“Actions taken include patrols, surveillance and enforcement carried out continuously around the clock, to ensure that sovereignty, sovereign rights and national interests are always protected,” he added.