Tag Archives: Malaysia

100 China-registered vessels encroaching on Malaysian waters in South China Sea: Minister

KUALA LUMPUR – About 100 China-registered boats and vessels were detected in Malaysia’s waters near Beting Patinggi Ali in the South China Sea on Thursday (March 24), said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim amid rising regional tensions over the contested waters. Shahidan was quoted by state news agency Bernama as saying that the government had instructed the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to deploy its assets to monitor the situation. “Three MMEA vessels have been deployed to the area. The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) assets are also there. The Bombardier aircraft has also carried out aerial monitoring in that area and found a group of Chinese fishermen there,” Shahidan told reporters on the sidelines of Parliament. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/100-china-registered-vessels-encroaching-on-malaysian-waters-in-south-china-sea

M’sia working with Asian counterparts on claims over South China Sea

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is cooperating with other countries in Asia to ensure there is no conflict or power struggle over the South China Sea. Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Naina Merican said all the countries including Brunei, the Phillipines, Vietnam, China and Malaysia, are responsible to ensure the peace and stability in the South China Sea. “In regards to the overlapping claims on the sea, the government believes the matter should be solved amicably among the claimant states, and has to be based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (Unclos 1982),” he said. Reezal added that Malaysia has carried out patrolling, monitoring and enforcement duties in the South China Sea. “To ensure there is peace and stability, Asean countries and China had signed the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) on Nov 4, 2002. “Through this agreement, claimant states have made efforts to build trust and avoid conflict in the sea,” he said in reply to a question by Senator Admiral Tan Sti Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor. He also said while the Asean countries and China held on to the DOC, it is moving towards establishing a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in future. Read more: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1632389

Malaysia calls for expanded use of CUES in South China Sea

The Royal Malaysian Navy has called for CUES to be used by other maritime agencies in the region Move is aimed at further preventing possible escalation of incidents in South China Sea The Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), Admiral Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, has called for wider use of a naval protocol that was ratified in 2014. The protocol, known as the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), was agreed upon unanimously by 25 Asia-Pacific countries. It consists of standardised phrases for naval ships and aircraft to use in unexpected encounters, especially in contested maritime regions. Read more: http://www.janes.com/article/56426/malaysia-calls-for-expanded-use-of-cues-in-south-china-sea

Bridging South China Sea divide

 Nobody wants to admit it publicly, at least on the Malaysian side that the Asean Defence Ministers Plus meeting in Malaysia early this month nearly became a disaster. Disagreement between the United States and China over how to address the South China Sea issue resulted in the ministers failing to issue a joint declaration outlining ­cooperation in regional security matters. The United States and its allies had pressed for a mention of disputes in the South China Sea in the joint declaration while a senior US defence official said China had lobbied Asean members to avoid any reference. This is not the first time maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea became an issue. Asean foreign ministers ended a meeting in Cambodia two years ago without issuing the customary joint communique as there had been disagreement over the growing assertiveness of China in the South China Sea. The South China Sea is fast becoming a focal point especially since four of the six claimant countries are Asean members, namely Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The other two are China and Taiwan. This week as the 27th Asean Summit and related summits begin, the issue is escalating again. It will be interesting to see how as Asean chair Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will handle leaders from China and the United States during the 10th East Asia Summit (the Asean 10 plus Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the US). Read more: http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/Mergawati/Profile/Articles/2015/11/19/Bridging-South-China-Sea-divide-Balancing-act-for-Malaysia-on-South-China-Sea-issue-Malaysia-in-pivo/

China Appreciates Malaysia’s ‘Quiet’ Diplomacy Approach In Handling South China Sea Issue

China appreciates the “Quiet Diplomacy” approach taken by Malaysia in handling the South China Sea issue, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. “In another word, they like our non-confrontational approach by using diplomacy as a channel to resolve a complex issue,” he said after a bilateral meeting with China’s President, Xi JinPing here, today. President Xi also said that China has deep political mutual trust with Malaysia and “enjoys good working relationship with me.” Any concerns with regard to South China Sea is conveyed to China in various meetings, he said after the 45-minute meeting held on the sideline of the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit in Manila. The meeting was requested by China. Asked what were the concerns, he said: “That we should not rancher up tension in the area, we should ensure that the area continues to be peaceful because peace and stability are prerequisites for prosperity.” On the presence of U.S Naval Ship in the South China Sea, Najib said: “We have to accept the fact that U.S sees itself as a pacific power and will continue to be so.” “In other words, the relations between the United States and China – the two super powers in the region will be the key determinant of whether South China Sea and other parts of the world will continue to be one of peace and stability.” Najib believes the issue will continue to be discussed at the ASEAN Summit that will take place in Kuala Lumpur over the weekend. “It will be discussed. We have discussed it before. So, it is nothing new but the issue is in what context,” he noted. Najib had said before that ASEAN should be guided by its principles of settling dispute in an amicable manner and based on international laws when dealing with the disputed South China Sea claims. He said parties involved in the dispute should not engage in activities that would increase tension. “There are concerns expressed by ASEAN as a group but nations should be guided by the principles enunciated in settling disputes in a very amicable and negotiated manner, (they) must adhere to the international law such as UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” he said. Read more: http://www.malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/282-main-tile/579559-china-appreciates-malaysia-s-quite-diplomacy-approach-in-handling-south-china-sea-issue.html

Regional superpower’ has encroached into Malaysia’s maritime territory: DPM Ahmad Zahid

KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A regional superpower has encroached into maritime territory by constructing airstrips, jetties and other facilities on three atolls just 155km from Sabah, says Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Without naming the superpower concerned, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said the country’s motives of building the facilities 3,218km from its mainland were questionable. “To claim this part of the South China Sea as theirs due to historical narrative is invalid,” Dr Ahmad Zahid said when opening the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) congress in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday (Nov 14). Read more: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/regional-superpower-has-encroached-into-malaysias-maritime-territory-dpm-ahmad-zahid

Malaysian Deputy PM says must defend sovereignty in South China Sea dispute

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister said the country must defend encroachment of its sovereignty in a veiled swipe at China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, as tensions flared ahead of a regional meeting that Beijing will attend. Without directly referring to China, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi questioned why land was being reclaimed on coral areas close to Malaysia’s shores. “If our country is threatened or being encroached, we Malaysians should rise to defend our country,” he told a gathering in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island. Beijing, which claims almost the entire energy-rich South China Sea through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes to yearly, has stepped up land reclamation and construction in disputed islands and reefs. But the U.S. challenged the territorial limits China claims around the islands in recent weeks with a so-called freedom-of-navigation patrol. Malaysia, which will host the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting later this month to be attended by U.S, China and other world powers, claims a portion of the disputed waterways along with Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei. Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/14/us-southchinasea-asean-idUSKCN0T30LU20151114#TEBa2p5eCusv6drk.97

How Is Malaysia Responding to China’s South China Sea Intrusion?

Since 2013, a Chinese coast guard vessel has been defiantly anchored in Malaysian waters at the Luconia Shoals – which Malaysia calls Beting Patinggi Ali – in a vivid demonstration of Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea (See: “Malaysia Responds to China’s South China Sea Intrusion”). The vessel is just 84 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak, well inside Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone and on the southern end of China’s infamous nine-dash line, which covers about 90 percent of the South China Sea. This is hardly the first time Chinese vessels have encroached into Malaysian waters – indeed, as I have stressed repeatedly, such intrusions have become both bolder and more frequent over the past few years (See: “Malaysia’s South China Sea Policy: Playing it Safe”). They not only pose a threat to the country’s South China Sea claims, but its extensive natural resource activities there as well as its territorial integrity. Yet a point often missed is that Chinese encroachments directly affect the livelihoods of fishermen in the area too. Indeed, Malaysian fishermen claim that they have not been able to even enter the area for months, with reports of Chinese vessels chasing them away on past attempts. Over the weekend, Jamali Basri, chairman of the Miri Fishermen Association, claimed that the last time local fishermen had ventured into the area was in May. “[O]ur fishermen were chased from the shoals by the Chinese Navy boats and now they dare not go near the place to fish,” he told the Borneo Post. The fishermen have been calling for tougher measures to be taken against the Chinese vessels. Some have urged the state government to step in, including by putting up signs or national flags to assert Malaysia’s sovereignty. Fishermen have been told to report any further Chinese threats to the authorities. There are signs of an approach of sorts slowly emerging in response to Chinese threats. For instance, at the local level, Jamali revealed to Malaysian media that around 1,000 fishermen and the Sarawak government have agreed to erect artificial shoals along the state’s coastlines. The artificially-constructed shoals, he explained, would ensure a constant supply of marine resources for fishermen. Nationally, Sarawak Region Maritime Chief Enforcement First Admiral Ismaili Bujang Pit separately told reporters on October 28 that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the country’s equivalent of a coast guard, had written to the federal government to double the assets currently deployed in Sarawak to contend with encroachments into Malaysian waters. Currently, Ismaili said the MMEA has just 11 patrol boats and 500 officers operating in the Sarawak Coast, and there were 70 cases of encroachment in Sarawak waters with 12 vessels seized. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/how-is-malaysia-responding-to-chinas-south-china-sea-intrusion/

Malaysia slams China’s ‘provocation’ in South China Sea

China’s relations with several Southeast Asian countries, especially the Philippines and Vietnam who have competing claims in the South China Sea, have been strained by Beijing’s increasingly assertive tone in an area through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes annually. Beijing’s move last year to step up the creation of artificial islands, which it says are mostly for civilian purposes, has also drawn strong criticism from Washington. “I would like to address the issue of the unwarranted provocation by the Chinese over the construction on the garrisoned islands of the South China Sea,” Malaysia Armed Forces chief Zulkefli Mohd Zin told a security forum in Beijing. China has offered assurances that their building work is also for civilian purposes, maritime research and to facilitate safe navigation of ships in that area, he added. “So time will tell as to what China’s intention is. In the meantime we have got to accept the reasons given by the government of the People’s Republic of China as to the purpose of the development of these islands,” Zulkefli said. “I hope that it is for good purposes and the purposes of all human kind.” Malaysia has generally adopted a cautious line in its dealings with Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea, in contrast to Vietnam and the Philippines, which have railed against perceived Chinese expansionism. Read more: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/10/18/uk-malaysia-southchinasea-china-idUKKCN0SC06420151018?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

China’s Big South China Sea Gamble

As far as Malaysia is concerned, the presence of Chinese Coast Guard vessels may potentially encourage it to respond aggressively by posturing and deploying military assets, which may in turn bring the two maritime forces close enough to cause a naval incident. Malaysia has preferred ‘quiet diplomacy’ to prevent any escalation in its relationship with China. In 2013, it was reported that Chinese naval and maritime surveillance forces had made incursions in waters off East Malaysia, which were not publicized at the time. Further, Malaysia has worked to prevent the sort of anti-China nationalist sentiments were seen in Hanoi in 2014. Beijing’s reclamation and construction activities on the islands/reefs in the South China Sea also have not gone unnoticed in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, however, has chosen to remain quiet given that it too has undertaken reclamation on some of the features under its control from where it has attempted to project civilian or maritime presence into surrounding waters. It is fair to say that if China does not order its ship to leave Malaysian waters, it may result in a diplomatic standoff with adverse repercussions. This may in turn result in a soured relationship and fading of the ‘charm offensive’ that has been very cleverly employed by China through a number of economic engagements with the Southeast Asian countries. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a Chinese initiative to finance infrastructure construction in the continent, may run into serious jeopardy if China does not stop its provocative behavior in the South China Sea. Likewise, Southeast Asian countries may shy away from the Chinese 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) which could be a major setback for the Chinese leadership,  which sees Southeast Asia as a springboard to launch the initiative.   Read more: http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/chinas-big-south-china-sea-gamble-13283?page=2