Keep proxy wars out of Asia, Mat Sabu tells US, Europe

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu says Malaysia will continue to engage with China.

PETALING JAYA: Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu told Western powers not to bring “Middle East-like” proxy wars to Asia, especially in the South China Sea.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference 2020, which ends today, Mohamad said proxy wars were being fought in the Middle East, citing Libya as a clear example, where groups “are being funded and sponsored”.

“I call upon the Americans and Europeans to not bring proxy wars to Asia, especially in the South China Sea.

“We are aware that China is emerging as a new superpower, and Malaysia will continue to engage with the country.”

Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, also called on European countries to have a joint discussion on maintaining peace in the South China Sea.

According to Time magazine, the Libyan civil war, which enters its 10th year tomorrow, saw the likes of France, Britain, the US and the United Arab Emirates, among others, discreetly channelling weapons and training to fractious anti-Muammar Gaddafi groups.

Gaddafi was killed in 2011.

Russia and several Arab monarchies, meanwhile, are said to back Khalifa Haftar, a naturalised US citizen who rose to prominence after helping oust Gaddafi in 2011.

Haftar, who launched a bid to wrest control of Tripoli from the UN-backed government last year, is said to be the enemy of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is supported by the US.

Various zones and islands such as the Spratly Islands are being claimed by several countries, with China continuing to construct military and industrial outposts on artificial islands it has built in disputed waters.

Mohamad said he was proud of the progress and peace in Europe and Russia, noting there were no major conflicts between the two since World War II.