Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that Malaysia does not have the military power to confront China over its nine-dash line claim on the South China Sea.
Dr Mahathir made the statement during a press conference at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok on 3 Nov.
He said he previously shared Malaysia’s stance to Australia during their bilateral discussion.
“We pointed out that we are a small country. Can’t confront China. If they want to claim South China Sea as theirs, that’s their concern,” he said as quoted in a report by the Malay Mail.
China, he explained, “has not done anything to restrict ships” passing through the disputed waterway.
In addition, Dr Mahathir said that Malaysia is still not ceding ownership of the five island territories that China seems to claim on the sea.
“As far as we are concerned, we want to have free passage through the South China Sea and also in the air.”
Dr Mahathir previously made statements against the presence of warships in the disputed territory.
“In the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, the passage of ships are still free without obstruction but once people start sending warship then we have a problem. There might be accidents and as we know accidents may lead to war.”/TISG