By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, June 3: Julian Tan, special assistant to Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen urges the federal government to work together with Southeast Asian countries to expedite the conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC) over the South China Sea (SCS) before year end.
In light of the encroachment of 16 Chinese military aircraft into airspace only 60 nautical miles off Sarawak and Malaysia on June 1, Tan in a statement today said the government together with Asean members must present a united front and take the stage on SCS with China to maintain peace, stability and security.
He pointed out that Asean members should be wary of any attempt, be it from outside or from within, to divide and rule to prevent its members from closing ranks behind the legal process over the region.
“The 16 Chinese military aircraft encountered raises the urgency to establish a specific annex for air-to-air encounters over the SCS.
“We may expect more of such encounters as China started to flex its wings from its airstrip over the Spratly Islands.
“Code for Unplanned Encounters at Seas (CUES) does not decrease the number of incidents nor change the underlying power struggle over the SCS.
“However, it is the Rules of Behaviour for the Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters.
“These de-escalation tools will prevent untoward accidents to lower the risk of incidents in SCS that might unintentionally engender the use of force,” he said.
Tan, who is also an aerospace and defence engineer and consultant, observed that the Chinese military had on several occasions encroached into Malaysian airspace and waters in the past few years.
He expressed concern over the latest encroachment and the action may suggest that China could escalate the standoff with further military deployments.
Thus, Tan who is also a former Stampin MP, called on the federal government to join hands with Asean members and to meet with China to access and revisit CUES over SCS. — DayakDaily