Thus I do not care if shots were fired or they were thousands of miles away, the PRC has scored a moral victory in making their claim and we will look like wimps if an appropriate response more than denial or amaran is made. I personally would love to see a submarine traing exercise is made in the EEZ around the waters as a response.
Anyway here is the full article for your reading pleasure.
Published: Friday January 31, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 31, 2014 MYT 10:23:51 AM
The Jan 27 report, carried on the Ministry of National Defence website said three warships from the South China Sea Fleet of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) arrived there on Jan 26 and held a “sovereignty oath-taking ceremony”.
“Zengmu Reef is the southernmost part of China’s territory, and it is also a main maritime artery and strategic point,” the report concluded.
Located 80km from Bintulu in Sarawak, James Shoal is within Malaysia’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar has said the exercise was conducted over 1000 nautical miles away from Malaysia’s EEZ and that the RMN had been informed about it through diplomatic channels.
“Putting aside the issue of where those ships actually were, the fact remains that the PLAN – through state media reports – has unequivocally underscored China’s claims over the waters around James Shoal,” argued senior analyst Shahriman Lockman at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.
“It was a display of China’s intent and resolve to assert its claims in the South China Sea, which extends into Malaysia’s EEZ.”
James Shoal is within the “nine-dash line” that China claims as its own territorial waters, added Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent Dzirhan Mahadzir.
Even if the ships were passing within Malaysia’s EEZ, noted a Malaysian government source, “it was within their right to exercise freedom of navigation.”
But if PLAN was conducting a patrol or maritime exercise within the EEZ, they should get Malaysia’s consent, he stressed.
Commenting on the Chinese media reports, a United States embassy spokesman here said: “Claimants should avoid actions in disputed areas of the South China Sea that may raise tensions and undermine prospects for diplomacy. We encourage all parties to use their military capabilities in a manner conducive to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
On Jan 27, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Malaysia had not lodged an official protest over the exercise the day before. He said China was willing to resolve the dispute through negotiations.
“China appears to want bilateral negotiations,” said the Malaysian government source.
But, he pointed out: “Everybody is disputing the same areas so it can’t be done bilaterally. And the scope of the area where they want to have the joint development is in our waters.”