KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Malaysia is firm with its stand that matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully and constructively, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
He said it must be resolved in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
“Malaysia is of the view that all parties need to work together to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, stability and trade.
“As a coastal state, it is a matter of great significance that our maritime area is safe for international trade to prosper,” he said in his intervention during the plenary session of the 37th Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit and related meetings which begin Thursday.
Muhyiddin leads Malaysia's delegation to the meetings which are held virtually, from Kuala Lumpur.
Themed “Cohesive and Responsive Asean", this year's Asean Summit, hosted by Vietnam, are held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prime minister also reiterated Malaysia's view that while international law guarantees the freedom of navigation, the presence of warships and vessels in the South China Sea has the potential to increase the tension that may, in turn, result in miscalculations which may affect peace, security and stability in the region.
On another note, Muhyiddin said Asean will remain a strategic player as a bloc in the ever-changing geopolitical landscape, which can only be achieved when all member states continue to communicate and work as a united bloc.
“The reality is that as small nations, we must coalesce with those who share similar values that would be able to defend and promote Asean Centrality, the region’s interest and with external parties.
“Malaysia hopes that with the many deliberations which Asean has worked on, our collective efforts may pave the way to the realisation of our aim to be the one Asean community that we all wanted – an entity that shares the one vision and aspiration in propelling our Asean Community to a greater height and strategic position which would contribute greatly to international peace, stability, security and prosperity,” he added.
The prime minister also welcomed the endorsement of Australia’s proposal for an annual Asean-Australia Leaders’ summits beginning from 2021. — Bernama