KL to voice concerns over Chinese vessels' intrusion

Malaysian Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein.
Malaysian Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUCHING • Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein will convey Malaysia's concerns over the presence of Chinese coast guard ships about 84 nautical miles from the coast of Miri, when he meets Chinese Ambassador Huang Huikang today.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin stressed that the situation was under control when journalists asked about the Chinese vessels first detected two years ago at the Luconia Shoals, also known as Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali.

"In fact, tomorrow in Sembrong (Johor), I will be with Ambassador Dr Huang to celebrate Chinese New Year, so I can convey the message later," Mr Hishammuddin said at a media conference, after visiting the Heroes' Mausoleum in Kuching yesterday, reported Bernama news agency.

"So do not worry, the situation is under control."

Mr Hishammuddin expressed confidence that direct communication between the Sarawak state leadership and the Chinese embassy would alleviate the concerns of people in the state over the presence of the ships.

He said he had directed Navy Chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin to arrange for Dr Huang to call on Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem.

One Chinese coast guard vessel has been anchored in Malaysian waters off Gugusan Beting Patinggi Ali, while other vessels were also reported to be in the area.

The Chinese ships have chased away Malaysian fishing boats that venture near the shoals, which Malaysia claims as its territory.

Malaysia has been lodging frequent diplomatic protests against the intrusion, to little avail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'KL to voice concerns over Chinese vessels' intrusion'. Print Edition | Subscribe