KL rejects Beijing’s claims in South China Sea


KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia has rejected China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea in a rare public rebuke of its largest trading partner.

The government made a submission to the United Nations two weeks ago on its rights over the remaining portion of a continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the country’s baselines, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament yesterday.

The move was in response to a similar claim China made to the UN on Dec 12, he said.

“Malaysia opposes China’s claim that they have historic rights over those waters,” said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin, adding: “The Malaysian government also considers China’s claims over maritime features in the South China Sea to have no basis whatsoever under international law.”

The rebuke is an unusual move for Malaysia, which had previously avoided reproaching China openly by reiterating its focus on ensuring the area remains open for trade.

Australia and the US have also rejected China’s claims in the area.