Hishammuddin: Diplomacy resolved dispute between Petronas and Chinese vessels in South China Sea


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia used diplomacy to resolve the recent incident involving a Petronas oil and gas exploration vessel and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (pic).

"Since March, when handling the issue involving the Petronas vessel West Capella in Arapaima-1 and Lala-1, Wisma Putra resorted to discussions and diplomacy on the matter.

As a result, the Chinese vessels left the areas concerned," he said when answering a question raised by Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim (BN-Arau) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday. (Aug 13).

While consistent in claims of sovereignty in the particular area, the Foreign Minister said Malaysia remains committed towards resolving disputes over claims in the South China Sea through diplomacy.

"Over the past few months, I have voiced this to several leaders that all parties must work together to avoid incidents, whether intentional or not.

Any conflict in the area would only result in rising tensions which could threaten security, stability and peace in the South China Sea," he noted.

Hishammuddin informed the House that he raised this with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (Aug 12) and his China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi the day before.

Hishammuddin noted the issue over claims in the South China Sea was a complex issue as it involved overlapping claims by Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Philippines.

Besides the non binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002, Hishammuddin said Asean and China are still working towards finalising its Code Of Conduct agreement which was mooted in 2018.

It was reported that the Haiyang Dizhi 8, a Chinese government survey ship had tagged West Capella in the disputed waters in the South China Sea in mid-May after a month-long standoff with the vessel.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was 324 km or 200 miles off the nation's coast, which is within Malaysia's exclusive economic zone.

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