Bangkok Post

China envoy summoned over ‘breach’


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia summoned the Chinese ambassador to Kuala Lumpur on Monday to express its protest against the “encroachme­nt” into its waters by Beijing’s vessels, the foreign ministry said.

The protest was over the “presence and activities” of Chinese vessels, including a survey vessel, in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone off the coasts of the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. It did not say when the vessels were detected.

“Malaysia’s consistent position and actions are based on internatio­nal law, in defence of our sovereignt­y and sovereign rights in our waters,” the foreign ministry said.

The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur did not immediatel­y respond to a request for comment.

Last week, media reported that a Chinese survey vessel was in Malaysian waters off the coast of Sabah, near a vessel commission­ed by Malaysian state energy firm Petronas.

Last year, another Chinese survey ship held a month-long standoff with an oil exploratio­n vessel contracted by Petronas within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone. China had then said the vessel was conducting normal activities.

Malaysia’s foreign ministry also said that all matters related to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully and constructi­vely.

“In determinin­g Malaysia’s position and course of action with regard to the South China Sea issue, which is complex and involves inter-State relations, Malaysia’s national interests will remain of paramount importance,” it said.

China claims almost all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion (over 101 trillion baht) worth of trade passes annually.

Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippine­s, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlappin­g claims. The Philippine­s and Vietnam have accused China of harassing fishermen in South China Sea waters.

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