Malaysia protests Chinese ships in its waters

Malaysia on Monday summoned the Chinese ambassador to Kuala Lumpur to express his protest against “encroachment” in its waters by ships from Beijing, the foreign ministry said.

The protest concerned the “presence and activities” of Chinese vessels, including a survey vessel, in Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak states, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. .

He did not say when the ships were detected in Malaysian waters.

“Malaysia’s position and consistent actions are based on international law, in defense 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 investigative vessel was in Malaysian waters off the coast of Sabah, near a ship commissioned by Malaysian state energy company Petronas.

Last year, another Chinese investigative vessel held a month-long standoff with an oil exploration vessel contracted by Petronas in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

China then said the vessel was conducting normal operations.

The Malaysian Foreign Ministry has also said that all issues related to the South China Sea should be resolved in a peaceful and constructive manner.

“In determining Malaysia’s position and course of action regarding the South China Sea issue, which is complex and involves interstate relations, Malaysia’s national interests will remain of paramount importance,” he said. he declared.

China claims almost all of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which an estimated $ 3 trillion in maritime trade passes annually.

Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims.

The Philippines and Vietnam have accused China of harassing fishermen and energy activities in the waters of the South China Sea.