Putrajaya rebukes Beijing over South China Sea claim, says report

China has sent ships of its coast guard to assert its claim over most of the South China Sea. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya has rebuked China for making claims over the South China Sea and denying Malaysia’s right to establish its continental shelf in the northern part of the sea.

The South China Morning Post reported that Malaysia had sent “a note verbale” to the United Nations on July 29, stressing that Malaysia was fully within its rights to do so under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea.

According to the daily, Malaysia’s note read:

“(The Chinese assertions were) contrary to [Unclos] and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements under the convention.”

Malaysia “rejected in its entirety the contents of an earlier note by Beijing” sent on Dec 12, the daily reported.

The republic’s note was a response to Putrajaya’s assertion that there were “areas of potential overlapping claims in the areas where it was seeking to delimit its territory.”

China had previously said Malaysia had “seriously infringed China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea”.

In the government’s latest response, it rejected Beijing’s claims to historic rights to “the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the ‘nine-dash line’.”

Apart from Malaysia, the “nine-dash line” overlaps the exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, of several other countries including Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam.

A tribunal at The Hague, based on a suit brought by the Philippines, ruled in 2016 that China has no “historic title” over the waters, and that its line was superseded by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.