Saturday, June 13, 2015

• Malaysia Toughens Stance With Beijing Over South China Sea - By Jason Ng And Trefor Moss




KUALA LUMPUR—Malaysia said Monday it will protest what it called the intrusion of a Chinese Coast Guard ship into its waters north of Borneo, an unusually assertive step by the country amid tensions in the South China Sea. 
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This is not an area with overlapping claims. In this case, we’re taking diplomatic action,” National Security Minister Shahidan Kassim said in an interview, adding that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will raise the issue directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Malaysia has generally taken a low-key approach in South China Sea disputes, in contrast to the Philippines and Vietnam, which have both railed against perceived Chinese expansionism in disputed areas. The three Southeast Asian countries claim parts of the sea, as do Brunei, Taiwan and China.

Last week, Mr. Kassim posted pictures on his personal Facebook page that he said showed a Chinese law-enforcement ship anchored at Luconia Shoals, an area of islets and reefs about 150 kilometers north of Malaysian Borneo—well inside the approximately 400-kilometer exclusive economic zone claimed by Malaysia. The shoals are about 2,000 kilometers from mainland China.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesmen Hong Lei said Monday he was unfamiliar with Malaysia’s claim that a Chinese ship was anchored at Luconia Shoals.

China claims about 90% of the South China Sea. Luconia Shoals lie near the southern extreme of the so-called Nine-Dash Line, which China uses to demarcate its territorial claim.