KUALA LUMPUR June 2 (NST) — The 16 People’s Liberation Army-Air Force (PLAAF) that were said to have entered Malaysian airspace on Monday were on routine flight training and had adhered to relevant international laws.
The spokesman of the Chinese embassy in Malaysia said the Chinese military aircraft did not enter the territorial airspace of any country during the training and had strictly abided by the relevant laws.
“As far as I know, the reported activities are routine flight training of the Chinese air force and did not target any country. According to the relevant international laws, Chinese military aircraft enjoy the freedom of overflight in the relevant airspace.
“China and Malaysia are friendly neighbours, and China is willing to continue bilateral friendly consultations with Malaysia to jointly maintain regional peace and stability,” the spokesman said.
Earlier, it was reported that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) detected and intercepted 16 PLAAF aircraft from China which entered Malaysian airspace at 11.53am on Monday.
According to RMAF chief General Tan Sri Ackbal Abdul Samad, the PLAAF aircraft were detected to have flown at 23,000 and 27,000 feet with a speed of 290 knots through the Singapore flight information region (FIR) before entering the Malaysian Maritime Zone and Kota Kinabalu (KK) FIR.
“Then, they flew further to reach almost 60 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak’s territory, and this brought the fear of a threat to the nation’s sovereignty. RMAF then launched Hawk 208 aircraft from the 6th Squadron from the Labuan Air Base to be on standby through RMAF’s ‘Op Curiga’,” he said.
RMAF continued with radar monitoring and several attempts were made to direct the PLAAF aircraft to contact KK FIR air traffic control, but the instructions were ignored.
Based on the interception carried out, RMAF identified the PLAAF aircraft as Ilyushin Il-76 and Xian Y-20 transport aircraft, which are capable of performing various missions.