Malaysia and Australia weigh in regional countries to call for peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea after the US released a statement rejecting most of China’s claims in the resources-rich sea.
|South China Sea has made headlines these days. Image: Zeenews|
On July 16, Malaysia said that all parties must work together to ensure peace, security, and stability in the South China Sea, noting that matters relating to this sea must be resolved peacefully based on the universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
“Malaysia will also continue to play an active role in ensuring that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace and trade,” Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement.
|Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. Photo: The Star|
The minister went on saying that “As a claimant state, Malaysia has always been consistent in our stand, firm in our commitment to safeguard our sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea. Malaysia’s national interests remain paramount.”
Regarding the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC), the Malaysian top diplomat said his country looks forward to continuing the discussions in an effective and substantive manner with the aim of ensuring the rights and interests of all parties.
|Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit: Scott Morrison Twitter|
On the same day, Australia affirmed that it would continue to advocate “very strongly” the freedom of navigation through the South China Sea.
“Australia will continue to adopt a very consistent position,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a media briefing in Canberra when asked if the country backed the position of the US on maritime claims in the South China Sea.
Kuala Lumpur and Canberra are the latest parties voicing over the South China Sea following the US first-ever crystal clear position in the disputed sea that marks the trade transits worth more than US$5 trillion per year.
On July 13, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are “completely unlawful” and denounced the Asian giant stepping up aggression in this sea.
He noted that the US stands with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and will support regional countries to preserve their maritime boundaries.
Shortly after the White House’s statement, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia reacted to it. Among the trio, Hanoi and Manila welcomed Washington’s stance and strongly support it.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have their own assertions in the sea that China claims up to 90%.