The Malaysian defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, informed media that he will be meeting with his Australian counterpart to discuss the expanding foot print of China in South China Sea. He said that for regional peace and stability it is important to prevent militarization of artificial islands built by China.
China has been developing artificial islands in South China Sea in the region that is also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines and Vietnam. United States has considered this development unacceptable and is even considering negotiating a military base with Vietnam to prevent further expansion. United States consider the area critical for unhindered trade development as over 5 trillion dollars’ worth of trade is shipped through the area.
“If the reports we’ve received from various sources regarding the buildup and placement of military assets in the Spratlys are true – this forces us in a pushback against China,” Hishammuddin told reporters.
Members of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) have also expressed concern about the growing influence of China. China has refused to accept jurisdiction of international courts to resolve the differences and offered a bilateral platform to the countries of the region. China has also blamed US for inciting tensions in the region.