PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia reiterates its stand in calling for a peaceful resolution to matters related to the South China Sea, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic).
He said this must be done based on universally recognised principles of international law.
Hishammuddin also said Malaysia maintained its position that all parties must work together to ensure peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.
“Malaysia will also continue to play an active role in ensuring that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace and trade, ” he said in a statement on Thursday (July 16).
The minister said that as a claimant state, Malaysia always maintained a consistent stand and commitment in the issue of the South China Sea.
“We are firm in our commitment to safeguard our sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea. Malaysia’s national interests remain paramount, ” he said.
He was commenting on a statement by the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling China’s claims across most of the South China Sea as “completely unlawful”.
On another matter, Hishammuddin said his earlier comments on China’s military encroaching into Sabah and Sarawak waters in the South China Sea was in reference to activities at West Capella which had been managed during his first 100 days in the ministry.
He said the vessels, comprising a Chinese survey vessel, the accompanying Chinese Coast Guard and fishing militia, were present in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from April to May, and left after diplomatic efforts.
“Regarding the statement by the former foreign minister, our position on the South China Sea has not changed from the time he led Wisma Putra.
“In fact, if he knew the context of my statement regarding West Capella activities as clarified, I am certain he would not have misunderstood and reacted the way he did, ” he added.
West Capella is a Malaysian-contracted drillship in the South China Sea.
Former Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman was reported to have criticised Hishammuddin’s claim that there had been no further encroachment in South China Sea, saying that the minister was either “in denial or ignorant of the facts”.
He said Hishammuddin must be more assertive in defending Malaysia’s sovereignty against continued China’s encroachment.
He was asked to comment on the recent Auditor-General's Report that China's military encroached into Sabah and Sarawak waters 89 times from 2016 to 2019.
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