London: – ‘China is free to move anywhere in the South China Sea region. However, while doing so China should not deploy its destroyers in the region, as it would heighten prevailing tensions and may spark a conflict, which would possibly culminate into a full-fledged war,’ was the stern warning issued by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. A few days ago, Mahathir had also bitterly opposed China’s ambitious ‘Silk Route’ project.
Prime Minister Mahathir gave an interview to a British news channel before leaving for Malaysia after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. During the interview, Mahathir expressed concern over the tensions created in the South China Sea region. He said that China couldn’t claim their sovereign right over the entire South China Sea.
‘China has every right to go wherever they want to go, but please don’t prevent ships from passing through the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea,’ rebuked the Malaysian Prime Minister. Malaysia also expects that tensions of any sort shouldn’t be created in the region, said Prime Minister Mahathir.
The Malaysian Prime Minister said that Malaysia is opposed to the deployment of destroyers and warships in the region owing to this very reason. ‘If China deploys its destroyers in the region, other countries will follow suit. In such a scenario, there would then arise a possibility of the resulting tensions leading to a conflict which may escalate into a full-blown war,’ was the concern expressed by Mahathir. The Malaysian Prime Minister’s warning is important in view of China’s increasing military deployment in the region and its repeated warnings being issued to the warships of the United States and other countries.
Apart from China, countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan have also claimed their respective rights over the South China Sea. Even so, China is preparing to establish its dominance in this marine region, disregarding their rights. “If China has to be stopped, the only option available is declaring a war,” the Chief of the US Indo-Pacific Command had warned. The warning underlines the situation in the region, which has become explosive. Under such circumstances, the seriousness of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s warning, who holds a political experience of only a few decades, increases considerably.