M’sia to insist on neutrality of South China Sea

M’sia to insist on neutrality of South China Sea – Mat Sabu

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Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu says Malaysia would continue to insist on the South China Sea remaining a free zone from any military competition and enhancement. Speaking to Bernama, Mohamad said Malaysia was firm on its stance despite the big powers, like the United States and China giving their assurance to make the international route a safe area. Concerns on this cropped up again following a near collision between US and Chinese warships in the South China Sea onSept 30. Mohamad said the call for the South China Sea to remain a safe zone had been made by Malaysia since during the time of second Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein. “We want the superpowers to respect the South China Sea as a neutral and safe area,” he added. Mohamad also reiterated Malaysia’s warm defence relations with Singapore in his introductory visit to the republic. He also attended the 12th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the fifth ADMM-Plus hosted by Singapore for two days from Oct 19. Mohamad said that in open forums, the superpowers always expressed their respect for the laws of international waters, but the reality was otherwise. “That is what they said, but in reality, like what happened recently, the near collision involving two warships in Spratly island in the South China Sea. “All Asean countries, including its chairman Singapore said that if a collision occurred on that day, the ADMM meeting would turn out differently,” he said. While in the republic, Mohamad called on his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen last Thursday and also spent some time visiting the Information Fusion Centre at Changi Naval Base, where he also interacted with Malaysian troops participating in Exercise Bersama Lima. He also visited the 3rd Singapore Division, where he was briefed on the Singapore Army and also viewed a static display of Army assets and weapon systems, as well as embarked on a fami…