Malaysia: China's claim to maritime features in Bien Dong Sea (South China Sea) has no legal basis

Malaysia said China’s claim to the maritime features in Bien Dong Sea or internationally known as the South China Sea has no basis under international law.    
August 01, 2020 | 07:48
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Syed Aidid, head of the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations (Photo: Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Malaysia’s Note No. HA26/20 refers to Note Verbale CML/14/2019 dated December 12, 2019, by the Permanent Mission of China to the UN Secretary-General.

It said with regard to China’s assertion in the second and third paragraphs of its Note Verbale, the Government of Malaysia rejects China's claims to historic rights, or other sovereign rights or jurisdiction, with respect to the maritime areas of the South China Sea encompassed by the relevant part of the so-called 'ninedash line' as they are contrary to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS) and without lawful effect to the extent that they exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China's maritime entitlements under the Convention.

In this respect, the Government of Malaysia considers that the People's Republic of China's claim to the maritime features in the South China Sea has no basis under international law. Therefore, the Government of Malaysia rejects in its entirety the content of the Note Verba le of the People's Republic of China,” according to the note.

In Note Verbale CML/14/2019, with regard to the submission dated December 12, 2019 by Malaysia to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf concerning the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the South China Sea, China said Malaysia’s submission has seriously infringed China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the South China Sea.

Last June, Ambassador Kelly Craft, the US Representative to the UN, conveyed a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres regarding Note Verbale CML/14/2019.

In the letter, the US rejected China’s maritime claims as inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 UNCLOS.

"I request that you circulate the enclosed letter to all UN Member States as a document of the General Assembly under Agenda Item 74(a) and of the Security Council, and that you post it on the web page of the Office of Legal Affairs, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea," the ambassador said.

Malaysia would also continue to play an active role in ensuring that the East Sea remained a sea of peace and trade. Earlier, Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement in response to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on the East Sea on July 13, that matters relating to the waters must be resolved peacefully based on the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Malaysia hopes that the next talks will reach a result-oriented Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), he said.

On July 15, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the Bien Dong Sea or East Sea is the aspiration and goal of countries in the waters and the region as well as the international community, according to QDND.

The respect of maritime legal order and the full and responsible implementation of the 1982 UNCLOS are significant in realising these goals, she said.

Vietnam welcomes other countries’ stance on the East Sea issue in line with international law.

VNA reported that, Hang reiterated the view contained in the statement issued at the recent 36th ASEAN Summit that the 1982 UNCLOS is a legal framework on all activities at sea.

Vietnam hopes that countries will make efforts to contribute to maintaining peace, stability, and cooperation in the East Sea and settle disputes through dialogues and other peaceful measures, in accordance with international law and for the common interest, the spokesperson stressed.

Vietnam always actively and responsibly contributes to the process, she said./.

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