Malaysia says Chinese ships, including a survey ship, have entered its exclusive economic zone from Borneo.
Malaysia says it has summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest the “presence and activities” of Chinese ships in Kuala Lumpur’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the South China Sea off the island of Borneo.
Late Monday night, the foreign ministry said in a statement that Chinese ships, including a survey boat, were violating the 1982 UN maritime law off the coast of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.
No details were given about the number of ships involved or when the incident took place.
Malaysia’s consistent position and actions are based on international law, protecting our sovereignty and our sovereign right to water, the statement said. “Malaysia also protested against the previous intrusion of other foreign ships into our waters.”
Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei claim parts of the South China Sea off their coast, while China claims almost the entire area under the so-called Nine-Dash Line, which the International Court of Justice ruled in 2016 unfounded.
In recent years, Beijing has stepped up its operations in the disputed waters, building artificial islands, setting up military outposts on rocky streams and islands, and deploying huge fishing vessels and ships from its naval militia.
Last year, Malaysia and China were at a standstill for months at sea in Sarawak, where the Malaysian national oil company Petronas was exploring for oil and gas. China also sent a survey ship to the area on that occasion.
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, China has 227 outposts in the disputed waters and also controls Scarborough Shoal, which was seized from the Philippines in 2012.