Last week, The Borneo Post reported that China had once again encroached into Malaysian waters in the South China Sea.
According to the June 2 report, confirmed by Malaysian officials, a Chinese Coast Guard ship had been detected intruding into Malaysian waters at the Luconia Shoals – which Malaysia calls Beting Patinggi Ali. In this case, the vessel was not just passing through, but had been defiantly anchored just 84 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak, well inside Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone and on the southern end of China’s nine-dash line which covers about ninety percent of the South China Sea.
This is hardly the first time Chinese vessels have encroached on Malaysian waters. Indeed, as I have written before both here and elsewhere, these intrusions have become both bolder and more frequent over the past few years (See: “Playing It Safe: Malaysia’s Approach to the South China Sea and Implications for the United States”). They pose a clear threat not only to the country’s claims in the South China Sea, but its extensive natural resource activities there as well as the territorial integrity of the nation given that the waterway divides Peninsular Malaysia from East Malaysia.