South China Sea: Malaysia to summon Chinese envoy says expert
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Malaysia’s air force said it scrambled jets on Monday to conduct visual confirmation after the planes flew within 60 nautical miles off Sarawak state of Malaysian Borneo. It described the incident as a “serious threat to national sovereignty and flight safety”. The Chinese planes did not contact regional air traffic control despite being instructed several times, the air force said.
Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia will issue a note of diplomatic protest and ask China’s ambassador to Malaysia to explain the “breach of the Malaysian airspace and sovereignty”.
Mr Hishammuddin said in a statement: “Malaysia’s stand is clear – having friendly diplomatic relations with any countries does not mean that we will compromise on our national security.”
China’s embassy earlier said the planes conducted routine flight training and “strictly abided by” international law without violating airspace of other countries.
A spokesperson added: “China and Malaysia are friendly neighbours, and China is willing to continue bilateral friendly consultations with Malaysia to jointly maintain regional peace and stability.”
China has been pushing an expansive claim over the South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually. It has also built military facilities on manmade islands.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to various islands and features in the area and China’s coastguard routinely warns foreign boats and aircraft to leave what it calls its territory.
Malaysia’s air force said the planes, comprising Ilyushin il-76 and Xian Y-20 strategic transporters, had traveled in an “in-trail” tactical formation at between 23,000 and 27,000 feet.
Last year, a Chinese survey ship held a month-long standoff with a Malaysian oil exploration vessel within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
China must 'share the answers' on COVID-19 'leak' says Pompeo
Malaysia’s move follows months of diplomatic protests by the Philippines over the presence of hundreds of Chinese fishing boats in its EEZ, which it says are manned by militia. China has largely ignored the complaints.
It comes as the Philippines has protested China’s continuing “illegal presence and activities” near an island in the South China Sea held by the Southeast Asian nation, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Manila lodged the diplomatic protest on Friday over the “incessant deployment, prolonged presence, and illegal activities of Chinese maritime assets and fishing vessels” in the vicinity of Thitu i=Island.
It demanded its giant neighbour withdraw the vessels.
Iran Navy: Inside the Iranian warship fleet – full arsenal exposed [INSIGHT]
Europe at its weak since end of WW2 – China readying to rule world [ANALYSIS]
China vs India: Beijing’s military refuses to withdraw [VIDEO]
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours.
Tensions between Manila and Beijing have escalated over the months-long presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. The Philippines says it believes the vessels were manned by militia, while Beijing has said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.
“The Pag-asa Islands is an integral part of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Thitu, known as Pag-asa in the Philippines, is 451 km (280 miles) from the mainland and is the biggest of the eight reefs, shoals and islands it occupies in the Spratly archipelago.
Source: Read Full Article