• Monday, Jul 06, 2020
  • Last Update : 05:32 pm

Chinese ship seen moving south near Malaysia amid rising South China Sea tensions

  • Published at 06:12 pm April 16th, 2020
Inflatable boat
File photo: Inflatable boat that sank off the coast of Libya resulting in many deaths of migrants AFP

The ship appeared to have started a survey in waters 352 kilometres (218 miles) off the coasts of Brunei and Malaysia on Thursday

A Chinese government survey ship embroiled in a standoff with Vietnamese vessels moved south near Malaysia, shipping data showed Thursday, amid accusations that China is using the pandemic to assert its presence in the South China Sea.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was spotted off Vietnam this week, returning after being closely tracked last year in the resource-rich waters, a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's sweeping maritime claims.

The ship appeared to have started a survey in waters 352 kilometres (218 miles) off the coasts of Brunei and Malaysia on Thursday, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks shipping.

That appeared to be just north of Malaysia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), near waters claimed by both Vietnam and Malaysia.

A Malaysian coastguard vessel, the KM Pekan, is shadowing the Chinese ship, a Malaysian maritime source said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 had been flanked by as many as seven Chinese coastguard vessels that have since moved away, two sources familiar with the matter said. The Malaysian navy was monitoring the situation, one of the sources said.

The foreign ministries of Malaysia, Brunei and China did not respond to requests for comment.

On Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman had said the ship was conducting normal activities and accused US officials of using the South China Sea issue to smear Beijing.

The presence of the Haiyang Dizhi 8 in the South China Sea comes amid movement curbs imposed by Southeast Asian countries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The US State Department had urged Beijing to focus on combating the pandemic and "stop exploiting the distraction or vulnerability of other states to expand its unlawful claims in the South China Sea."

China's U-shaped "nine-dash line" on its maps marks a vast expanse of the waters that it claims, including large expanses in the south that are also claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

Earlier this year, the Washington think tank Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said China has maintained a near-constant presence in Luconia Shoals, off the coast of Malaysia’s Sarawak state on Borneo.

Last year, at least one China Coast Guard vessel spent weeks in waters close to an oil rig in a Vietnamese oil block, operated by Russia's Rosneft, while the Haiyang Dizhi 8 conducted suspected oil exploration surveys in Vietnam's EEZ.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail