Asia - Pacific

Japan, Malaysia affirm shared stance on sea disputes

During PM Najib Razak's visit, Malaysia becomes latest South China Sea region country to be given patrol vessels by Japan

Ekip   | 16.11.2016
Japan, Malaysia affirm shared stance on sea disputes



Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Malaysian counterpart reaffirmed Wednesday their countries’ shared stance on territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Kyodo news agency reported that following talks in Tokyo, Abe and Najib Razak also signed an agreement for Japan to supply two used patrol coast guard vessels to Malaysia -- which has overlapping claims with China to parts of the resource-rich sea.

"We confirmed the importance of all countries concerned exercising self-restraint and resolving maritime disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Abe said.

While Tokyo does not claim any of the disputed reefs and atolls in the sea, it is involved in a long-running dispute with Beijing over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Japan and the United States have expressed alarm over China's reclamation work in the South China Sea, which includes the building of airfields, as they suspect the maritime expansion is aimed at extending its military reach.

In September, China’s defense ministry warned Tokyo against “playing with fire” after Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said Japan would increase its engagement in the sea.

In addition to Malaysia, Japan has given patrol vessels to other countries who have had disputes with China over the sea including the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

On Wednesday, Abe also made an appeal to Razak over a high-speed railway project aimed at connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore -- a project for which both Japan and China are set to make pitches when bidding opens next year.

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