BEIJING: The delay in resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea region is worrying, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Solid trust between leaders and the military of respective nations is therefore crucial in preventing the differences from snowballing into unmanageable conflicts, he said.
Hishammuddin was referring to the South China Sea issue, where Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and China have overlapping claims.
He said there would be possibilities of unintended accidents in the high sea and open sky when the problems drag on further, so the military of each country must be on their toes to prevent such a scenario.
“The level of trust between the militaries must be close, so you don’t end up in a situation that spirals into conflicts that we cannot control,” he said.
Hishammuddin was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of Xiangshan Forum, a biennial event for security and defence dialogues.
Commenting on the United States’ decision to patrol within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands built by China in the disputed energy-rich waters, Hishammuddin said he was briefed by the United States on this decision, and Malaysia would continue to engage with China on this issue.