China ship intrudes into M'sia, moored for 2 years

Modified 4 Jun 2015, 9:30 am

A coast guard vessel from China violated Malaysian waters and has remained anchored in Malaysia's exclusive economic zone, revealed Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim.

Shahidan, in a Facebook posting, said he made an official visit to Patinggi Ali Shoals (Luconia Shoals) in the South China Sea, 84 nautical miles (156km) off the shore of Sarawak, where the Chinese ship is anchored.

According to international law, a country's sovereignty extends 200 nautical miles (370km) out to sea as part of the exclusive economic zone of a country.

Meanwhile, Borneo Post reported yesterday that the Chinese ship has been anchored in Malaysian waters for two years.

Shahidan ( photo ) who posted an aerial photograph of a small patch of land in the area said: "This small island is not a disputed territory but the foreign ship which came here has intruded into our national waters."

He noted that the area is rich in oil and natural gas resources.

Shahidan said the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency have deployed ships which are anchored one nautical mile (1.9km) away from the Chinese vessel to monitor it.

This is not the first time China has intruded into Malaysian waters.

In January last year, Reuters reported that three Chinese ships entered the James Shoal, coming within 80km of Sarawak.

'M'sia silent on past intrusion'

However, Malaysia did not file a protest over the intrusion nor did it acknowledge the incident.

Instead, it was Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang who confirmed the incident to the Singapore media.

He stressed that the territory is an "indisputable sovereignty" of China and pointed out that Malaysia did not lodge any official protest, according to Singapore Straits Times .

China has been at odds with several countries surrounding the South China Sea as Beijing claims large swathes of the oil-rich region as its own.

Countries like Vietnam and Philippines has had skirmishes with the Chinese maritime but are wary of escalating any conflict with the superpower.

The US, a close ally of the Philippines, is the only country willing to challenge China.

Last month, the US flew a spy plane over vast reclamation areas which Beijing is developing in the South China Sea to strengthen its claims over the region and extend its own exclusive economic zone.

The latest intrusion came amid criticism against Putrajaya over its apparent unwillingness to stand up to Beijing.

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