Superpowers will only respect united Asean stand on South China Sea: Malay defence minister


Malaysia Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Asean should be united to handle South China Sea disputes.

The superpower and China would respect ASEAN’s voice and stand. Instead, the fate and position of ASEAN countries would be determined by the world’s superpowers.

He is of the view that ASEAN countries should have a united stand on South China Sea. Malaysia has been consistent on its stand.

He said the issue of placing military assets in South China Sea should also be jointly handled by ASEAN countries. He has since written to both United States and China requesting Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative to release the photograph of China increasing its military assets in South China Sea.

Hishammuddin said this after attending the volunteer appreciation ceremony organised by the Institute of Onn Jaafar (IOJ) today. He responded to protest of United States against seizure of its underwater drone by China in international waters of South China Sea, which raised tension in the area.

On US president-elect Donald Trump’s tough stand which may give rise to tension in the region, he is of the view that this depends on Trump’s view. He said one can’t afford to face major world powers individually but jointly as ASEAN.

However, he said if 10 countries pool their strength together, it is believed that China would not look down or neglect ASEAN’s stand.

He made it clear that Malaysia is close to its Philippines partner. At the same time he also agreed with Philippines that the issue of increasing military assets in South China Sea should be confirmed through official channel.