mandag 8. juni 2020

Pressures increasing on Indonesia and Malaysia in the South China Sea

Chinese and Malaysian vessels were locked in a high-stakes standoff for more than one month earlier this year, near the island of Borneo in the South China Sea. The Malaysian-authorized drill ship, the West Capella, was looking for resources in waters also claimed by Beijing, when a Chinese survey vessel, accompanied by coast guard ships, sailed into the area and began conducting scans, according to satellite images analyzed by the Asia Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI).

Malaysia deployed naval vessels to the area, which were later backed by US warships that had been on joint exercises in the South China Sea. Beijing claimed it was conducting "normal activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction," but for years Chinese vessels have been accused of hounding countries who try to explore for resources in waters that China claims as its own.

Now, experts say the Chinese ships are adopting increasingly forceful tactics, which risks sparking new conflicts with major regional powers such as Malaysia and Indonesia.