KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will remain neutral amid rising tension in the South China Sea between China and the United States, says Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Mohamad Alamin (pic).
“Malaysia will not take sides with any superpowers in competition with each other.
“This is in keeping with the nation’s policy of non-alignment,” he said in reply to Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee (PN-Beluran) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Feb 27).
Kiandee cited a Feb 25 CNN report claiming that Chinese fighter jets had confronted a US Navy airplane amid rising tensions in the area.
He wanted to know Malaysia’s stand in light of the mounting tension between the two nations, which could result in a regional conflict.
Mohamad noted that Asean and China had issued a joint declaration for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, which was currently being drafted.
To a question by Lee Chuan How (PH-Ipoh Timur), Mohamad said the country had to be careful in its relations with China and the United States as both were large trading partners.
He noted that trade with China stood at about RM487bil while it was about RM267bil with the United States.
Apart from bilateral trade, he said Malaysia had upgraded its relationship with China as a strategic comprehensive partner in 2013 and with the United States in 2014.
He said the interest and well-being of the nation are the government’s priority when it came to foreign policy.
Lee wanted to know if Malaysia would take proactive steps in engaging with other nations besides adopting a neutral stance.
Earlier, Mohamad assured the House that the sovereignty of the country would be upheld and that disputes would be resolved through peaceful negotiations.
Source: The Star