Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali in the South China Sea belongs to Malaysia and is not subject to overlapping claims, said Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
He said the shoals, located about 80 nautical miles from Tanjung Baram, Sarawak, were clearly within the Malaysian Exclusive Economic Zone going by the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).
UNCLOS 1982 entitles a littoral state like Malaysia to claim an EEZ and continental shelves up to 200 nautical miles from shore, he added.
As such, Malaysian fishermen were free to fish in the EEZ and any foreign coast guard vessel entering the area could be assumed to be encroaching, he said when contacted by Bernama.
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