Abide by international law when deploying ships to South China Sea - Gen Angus Campbell
KUALA LUMPUR - Chief of Defence Force of Australia Gen Angus Campbell today called for all nations that have deployed their ships and aircrafts to the South China Sea water to abide by international laws.
Admiting that Australia and many other countries have been there for decades, Angus however, reassured that they will continue to do so while operating under the law.
"...As all nations do, or as I would encourage all nations to do so, and resolve disputes and issues that might arise peacefully and through the principles of international law, which is the basis for countries to feel secure and build prosperity in the region which we are utterly committed to.
"...And the Defence Chiefs of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) remain in assurance and are very much focused on our nations working together in the interest of security here in Malaysia and in the region," he said during a press conference regarding the FPDA, here today.
Angus said so while commenting on Australia's views regarding security concerns and multiple claims over the waters of South China Sea especially China that has deployed their ships around Malaysian waters, particularly at Beting Patinggi Ali, as well as FPDA's views on the particular matter.
Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Force Gen Tan Sri Mohammad Ab Rahman said that Asean countries, especially Malaysia, stressed the importance of Asean centrality while dealing with the same issue.
The Asean centrality concept, as stated in the Asean Outlook on The Indo-Pacific, broadly emphasises that Asean must become the dominant regional platform to overcome common challenges and engage with external powers.
In June this year, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the government was aware of the presence of foreign ships which placed their assets in the areas for 24 hours a day and 365 days a year but Malaysia has never been quiet on the matter.
He said the government will continue to defend the country’s sovereignty in the gas fields at Beting Patinggi Ali and Kasawari in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea as recognised under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
Beting Patinggi Ali, which is located 84 nautical miles (155 km) from the coast of Miri (specifically in Tanjung Baram), Sarawak has been clarified by the Defence Ministry to belong to Malaysia and that the ministry has never recognised any other claims by any party.
However, Mohamad also said on Jan 25, Malaysia does not consider the presence of Chinese coast guard vessels seen in the area early this year as an encroachment as it is an overlapping area. - BERNAMA