Presence of warships in the South China Sea can lead to unnecessary conflicts: Dr Mahathir

21 Oct 2019 / 14:44 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the presence of warships in the South China Sea can lead to big accidents and unnecessary conflicts in the area.

He said at the moment, ships are still free to roam in the area without any obstruction but warned that any presence of warships might lead to bigger issues.

“Our (Malaysia’s) appeal to the big powers is to keep out all these weapons of war (warships) from this area ... might lead to accidents and as you all know, accidents may lead to war.

“We know when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed in Sarajevo, millions of people lost their lives after that, we don’t want any accidents at all,” he said during a ”Question-and-Answer” session in conjunction with the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) Praxis Conference “Malaysia Beyond 2020”, here.

(According to biography portal, Ferdinand, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated on June 28, 1914, at the hands of Serbian terrorist group the ‘Black Hand’ which led to the beginning of World War I)

The two-day conference which starts today is aimed at reviewing progress made by Malaysia after almost 30 years since Vision 2020 was first announced in 1991.

Mahathir said till today Asean countries have managed to sit together in resolving issues through peaceful means so that stability is preserved in the region.

He said at the currently, Asean is one of the very few regional organisations that is still functioning when others like the European Union (EU) were having problems.

“We (Asean) have problems of course because this is a strategic area of the world where much trade and business pass through us (the region), but we have to maintain peace and stability,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said Malaysia has always practiced a friendly policy and approach in its dealings with other countries.

“We don’t care what system they have or what ideology they follow, we want to trade with them and to trade with them we must be friendly with them.

“Malaysia is a trading nation and its growth has been based on trade, we need markets and we cannot afford to make enemies,” he added. — Bernama

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