China’s navy no longer encroaching our waters, says Hisham

Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said issues concerning the South China Sea were not just confined to the presence of Chinese and US vessels, but also involved territorial claims by other Asean nations. (AP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese Coast Guard and Navy vessels have not been seen encroaching into Malaysian waters of late, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

He said bilateral ties between both countries have been strengthened further in the 100 days since he was appointed to helm Wisma Putra.

“One area I’ve had to work on since helming Wisma Putra is to improve Malaysia’s ties with China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. So, when we talk about South China Sea, of course, the relationship with China is important.

“The latest, in the 100 days of helming Wisma Putra, Chinese vessels have not been seen in our waters, so how did we manage this?

“This is between us and the Chinese leadership. My stand is very clear; we will not compromise on our sovereignty,” he told a media conference in Parliament today.

He was responding to the Auditor-General’s Report 2018 Series 3 which, among others, revealed that Chinese coastguard vessels were detected to have encroached into Malaysian waters 89 times from 2016 to 2019.

Their presence had been identified to be related to claims over the South China Sea, especially the Beting Patinggi Ali area (BPA).

Hishammuddin admitted that issues concerning the South China Sea were not just confined to the presence of Chinese and US’ vessels, but also involved territorial claims by fellow Asean nations.

“Even if you resolve the dotted line with China and all this posturing between these superpowers, you still need to resolve the overlapping claims with our neighbours.

“But my personal fears are (concerning) incidents and accidents in the sea that can end up going to war. We have to avoid that.

“So military posturing is not going to help solve the problem and we need all 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 US (in the South China Sea),” he said.

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