Malaysia reaffirms commitment to safeguard interests, rights in South China Sea

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 23  — Malaysia remains firm in its commitment to safeguarding its interests and rights in the South China Sea.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Malaysia’s position on the matter is clear and consistent.

He said due to the complexity and sensitivity of the issue, all parties must work together to maintain peace, security and stability in the South China Sea and increase efforts to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence.

“Malaysia holds the view that the South China Sea should remain a sea of peace and trade. Thus, matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully based on the principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982,” he said in a statement, Thursday.

Hishammuddin said Kuala Lumpur’s stance is that any disputes should be resolved amicably through peaceful means, diplomacy and mutual trust by all the concerned parties.

“Just because we have not made a public statement on this does not mean we have not been working on all the above mentioned, we have open and continuous communication with all relevant parties, including the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America,” he said.

He said as a former Minister of Defence, he is deeply aware and conscious of the situation and all parties should avoid unintended, accidental incidents in these waters.

While international law guarantees the freedom of navigation, the presence of warships and vessels in the South China Sea has the potential to increase tensions that in turn may result in miscalculations which may affect peace, security and stability in the region, he added.

– BERNAMA