Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Malaysia would like issues on the South China Sea (SCS) to be resolved peacefully but without compromising its rights and interests in the disputed waters, according to its foreign ministry.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued the statement on Saturday after China expressed concern over Malaysia’s energy projects in a part of the sea that Beijing also claims.
“The government of Malaysia is unequivocally and firmly committed to protecting Malaysia’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests in its maritime areas in the South China Sea,” the MFA said.
“Malaysia firmly holds the view that matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully and constructively, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” it added.
The Philippines, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei have overlapping claims in the SCS.
Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia have moved forward with their oil and gas projects in parts of the SCS being claimed by Beijing.
The United States Energy Information Agency estimated that the waterway holds some 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 11 billion barrels of oil in proved and probable reserves, and potentially an undiscovered reserve of 160 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 12 billion oil barrels.
The MFA also clarified Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s statement on the SCS issues last week.
“By stating the term ‘negotiation’ during the Prime Minister’s Question Time at Parliament on 4 April 2023, Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim made the point that issues relating to the South China Sea should be discussed or resolved in a peaceful manner, utilizing existing platforms and through diplomatic channels, and without compromising Malaysia’s principled position, to avoid any escalation of disputes and the threat or use of force,” it said.
“In our common efforts to maintain the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and trade, it is therefore within this context that Malaysia will continue the diplomatic approach in our engagements with other States, including China,” it added.
Malaysia also said its position is in line with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by ASEAN member states and China in 2002.
“This is also the approach taken in the ongoing negotiations between ASEAN member states and China to conclude the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. ASEAN member states and China are committed to the negotiations towards a Code of Conduct that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” the MFA added.
However, China has been rejecting the 2016 arbitral ruling in The Hague, which has upheld the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its exclusive economic zone and has stated that Beijing’s “nine-dash line” claim in the SCS has no legal basis.
Source : CNN