Defence Minister Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Hussein wanted United States and China to explain their recent project of force in an international waterway which is supposed to be a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality (ZOPFAN).
The Malay Mail online story:
Hishammuddin: Malaysia to seek explanations from China, US over presence of warships near Spratly Islands
Monday November 2, 2015
10:24 PM GMT+8
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Malaysia will seek explanations from China and the United States (US) over the presence of their warships in Spratly Islands, during the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and 3rd ADMM-Plus which kick off in Subang tomorrow.
Malaysia’s Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he strongly believed that the latest development on that particular issue would be brief by his counterparts, General Chang Wanquan from China and US Secretary of Defence Dr Ashton Carter during their meeting.
“I will be looking forward to be briefed on the latest development if it really involved the movement of assets between both sides.
“It is very difficult for me to say anything now because I’m not sure what is the latest development on the issue,” he told a press conference today after the final-round inspection of preparations for the ADMM Retreat and ADMM-Plus from Nov 3 to 5 in Subang, near here.
It was reported that the controversy centred on a swath of territory in the South China Sea that contains the Spratly Islands when Chinese officials condemned a US ship’s passage near the disputed islands recently.
Asked whether Malaysia welcomed United States’ challenge on China over the disputed islands, Hishammuddin said he only welcomed any movement that would not disrupt stability in this region.
China, Taiwan and Asean members, namely the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, have been wrangling over ownership and control of the South China Sea, a resource-rich and busy waterway, in a conflict that has flared on and off for decades.
Hishammuddin said the 10 Asean countries should be united as a bloc.
“That is something that I put as my responsibility as long as I chair the Asean (Defence Ministers’ Meeting),” he said.
On another note, he said the Asean countries were closely monitoring the situation in the world, especially on what was happening in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, and in other countries.
“As our region’s stability will also depend on how they conduct themselves in other parts of the world, I don’t think that what is happening there cannot replicate here,” he said.
ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in Asean on matters related to defence.
It is aimed at promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges, as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.
Asean groups 10 countries, namely Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam while its eight dialogue partners in the Asean Plus are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
ADMM Plus meeting will be on “Asean — Maintaining Regional Security and Stability For and By the People”. — Bernama
It is imperative for mutual trust and co-operation between Defence Ministers with ASEAN plus China and United States to be truthful on their apparent agenda of projection of force.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting should also push forward the implementation of the Code of Conduct (COC), which ASEAN including China inked the Document of Conduct (DOC) in November 2002 which to adhere the UNCLOS 1982.
Part of COC is to have proviso to deal with multiple claims on territories and it should be sorted out multilaterally, having all vested parties involved in the process.
Current, China is interested to have multiple bilateral talks with multiple claimants on disputed territories, which is not as outline under UNCLOS.
It is obvious that China wanted to have the position and advantage of arm-twisting when they engage in a bilateral talks on multiple claims between two nations. It is no brainer what the outcome shall be.
Last week, it was reported US Navy Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Lassen patrolled 12 nautical miles off Fiery Cross Reef, a China PLA-Navy massive military installation on an artificial island on a reef.
Amongst other things, these tit-for-tat projection of force is to provided the psychological effect if and when the bi-lateral or multilateral talks should begin.
China re-excerted her claims over the fictitious and unlawful claim of ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and since modernising the China PLA-Navy in 2008, the communist state in far east has shown their aggressive tendencies of occupational traits. It started with the occupation of the Paracel Islands in january 1974 and later Scarborough Shoals.
Regardless, any parties weaving a loaded gun walking back and forth in front of our yard sends uncomfortable vibes if a cold sensation along the spine.
South China Sea is the second most important trade waterway globally and most of it falls within Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).