Explain trilateral security pact with UK and US, Australia urged

PETALING JAYA: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) has called on Australia to address regional perception towards its trilateral security pact with the United Kingdom and the United States, known as Aukus.

He said the pact had raised grave concerns of Australia’s development of nuclear-powered submarines capability and the possibility of igniting an arms race in the region.

Dr Wee, who received a courtesy video conference call by the High Commissioner of Australia to Malaysia Dr Justin Lee, said that the perception of these submarines’ capabilities must be deftly addressed so that Aukus would not cause further shocks to the current relations in the Asia-Pacific.

He said during their conversation, he reiterated Malaysia’s impartiality within Asean’s Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality and commitment to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and South-East Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.

“I urged Ambassador Dr Lee to engage closely with Malaysia’s regional partners to explain Australia’s trilateral security pact between the UK and USA as this pact had raised grave concerns of Australia’s development of nuclear-powered submarines capability and possibility of igniting an arms race in the region,” he said in a Facebook post.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysia expressed concerns that the security partnership could provoke other powers to also act aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea.

Dr Wee also shared with Dr Lee on Malaysia’s priorities for the transport and logistics sector’s recovery in a post-pandemic era.

“We must emphasise continued development in transport infrastructure and keep logistics flowing smoothly as we had done since the first movement control order last year,” he added.

Both of them also spoke on the first Australia-Malaysia Annual Leaders’ Meeting between Malaysia and Australia held on Jan 27, where both countries elevated their cooperation on economic prosperity, society and technology, defence and security.

He also called on Australia’s support in Malaysia’s bid for re-election as International Maritime Organisation Council Member for the 2022-2023 biennium.

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