Chinese warships patrolling contested waters in South China Sea

  • Nation
  • Friday, 31 Jan 2014

PETALING JAYA: Press in China recently reported that the China's Armed forces had sent warships to patrol the South China Sea with its personnel taking oaths to protect the sovereignty of their nation.

The report by China Military Online, showed a picture of armed forces members from three warships from the South China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) at a sovereignty oath taking ceremony on Sunday morning.

The three warships named 'Changbai Mountains', 'Haikou' and 'Wuhan' was seen forming a triangle at the waters of the Zengmu Reef, while the officers lined up and held a sovereignty oath-taking and signing ceremony on the rear decks of the warships.

The report explains that the security plan by the Chinese armed forces aims to safeguard the sovereignty over the reef through regular inspection.

Following this, the Singapore press had reported that Chinese ships patrolling an area contested by Malaysia are likely to cause more anxiety across Southeast Asia.

The report described three Chinese ships on Sunday patrolling the James Shoal in the South China Sea, about 80km off Sarawak on Borneo island, which Beijing counts as the southernmost part of its territory.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang, on Monday emphasised at a regular press conference China's "indisputable sovereignty" of the shoal, but said it was willing to use negotiations to resolve the dispute and was committed to protecting regional peace and stability.

Beijing is claim to parts of the resource-rich sea is challenged by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Vietnam and Philippines have been vocal about it but Malaysia has chosen to deal with the issue away from the public eye.

Although press in China had widely reported the sovereignty oath and the warships, Armed Forces chief, Gen Tan Sri Zulkefeli Mohd Zin said that China warships patrolling contested waters in the South China Sea were mere rumours.

He also said that news of Chinese vessels firing warning shots at Malaysian security force vessels was also untrue.

"We have not received any report resembling this incident, and for the time being, we believe that these vessels are only patrolling and pose no threat," he said at a press conference.

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