KUALA LUMPUR, July 17: Malaysia maintains its position that all parties must work together to ensure peace, security and stability as well as continue to play an active role in ensuring that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace and trade.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully based on the universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
He said Malaysia looks forward to continuing the discussions to conclude an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC) that would encompass elements which reflect the rights and interests of all parties.
“As a claimant state, Malaysia has always been consistent in our stand, firm in our commitment to safeguard our sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea. Malaysia’s national interests remain paramount,“ he said in a statement here yesterday in response towards United States (US) Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo on the US’ position on maritime claims in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, in response towards the allegations arising from his press conference on Wednesday, Hishammuddin said he spoke in the context of the reaction to West Capella activities where a Chinese survey vessel, the accompanying Chinese Coast Guard and fishing militia were present in Malaysia Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from April to May.
“This was managed during my first 100 days in the Ministry and those vessels left our EEZ after intensive diplomatic efforts. Regarding the statement by the former Foreign Minister, our position on the South China Sea has not changed from the time he led Wisma Putra.
“In fact, if he knew the context of my statement yesterday regarding West Capella activities as clarified, I am certain he would not have misunderstood and reacted the way he did. My response to the statement made by Secretary Pompeo as above further reaffirms our position on the matter,“ he added.
The media yesterday reported former Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman as lambasting Hishammuddin’s statement that has been no further encroachment in the South China Sea since PN came to power.
Anifah was also reported to have said that it was only in April that a flotilla of Chinese enforcement vessels was sighted accompanying a Chinese survey vessel within Malaysia maritime areas.