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Hishammuddin to contact US, China on South China Sea issue

05 Aug 2020 / 21:10 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein plans to contact the leaders from the United States and China to state Malaysia’s commitment towards resolving matters related to the South China Sea.

He said he would raise the issue when he speaks with China Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tomorrow.

“Malaysia should not necessarily be dragged into the matter and be caught in the geopolitics of the superpowers and efforts must be made to avoid any unwanted incidents in the waters, including military clashes by any party.

“Malaysia has always been committed to resolving the South China Sea issue constructively via appropriate diplomatic forums and channels,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Hishammuddin said the issue of maritime border claims in the South China Sea should not be used as the cause of division among Asean countries.

He said that Asean should be united as a bloc when facing the superpowers so that their joint strength could be translated effectively.

“If we follow the narrative and pressure of these superpowers, there is a high potential that Asean nations would side with certain countries,” he said.

He reminded that the South China Sea issue was not just with China, but there were overlapping claims from neighbouring countries too, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei.

“If Asean nations are divided, don’t expect Malaysia to face China and the United States on our own.

“Our best chance is for a solid Asean. That’s why in trying to resolve the issue with China, we must ensure that Asean solidarity in the bloc is solid to face the superpowers,” he said. — Bernama

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