KOTA SAMARAHAN, Oct 12 ― Malaysia believes that the South China Sea issues are complex, multi-faceted and highly sensitive and therefore, overlapping claims in the South China Sea should be addressed through peaceful means and in accordance with the relevant principles of international law.
Its Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China (China) have claimed maritime areas and features in the South China Sea, which overlapped with Malaysia’s claims off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak.
“China’s claim in the South China Sea is outlined by a unilaterally drawn ‘nine-dash line’ that includes almost the entirety of Malaysia’s maritime areas off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Malaysia does not recognise China’s claims as outlined by the nine-dash line because it is inconsistent with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).
“Malaysia reaffirms the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and of flights over the South China Sea,” he said in his talk on ‘Issues and Challenges in Managing Malaysia’s Foreign Relations’ at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), here, today.
He said Malaysia emphasised the need for all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea or DOC in its entirety: to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence; exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities; to not to resort to threat or use of force; and for the parties concerned to resolve their differences and disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with international law including UNCLOS 1982.
Malaysia urged that the consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) be intensified, to ensure the expeditious establishment of an effective COC, he added.
Meanwhile, Anifah said: “Asean is one of the core aspects of Malaysia’s foreign policy and ASEAN as a whole is also important for China.
“Therefore, Malaysia and China need to ensure proper balance and equilibrium between their individual and bilateral interests, and the larger regional interest of maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“Asean member states and China have been working together to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea, and must continue to do so.”
Anifah also said that Asean member states and China were committed to the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety.