Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Malaysia to summon Chinese envoy over airspace intrusion

Wisma Putra to issue protest note over breach of 16 Chinese military aircraft.

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Malaysia will issue a diplomatic note to protest the intrusion of more than a dozen Chinese air force aircraft into Malaysian airspace to Beijing, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

He said Wisma Putra will also summon the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia on the breach by 16 aircraft belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

“I will also relay Malaysia’s serious concern on the matter to my counterpart in China.

“Malaysia’s stand is clear – having friendly diplomatic relations with any countries does not mean that we will compromise our national security. Malaysia remains steadfast in defending our dignity and our sovereignty,” Hishammuddin said.

Yesterday, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) revealed that 16 aircraft from PLAAF had flown “suspiciously” close to the national airspace over the Malaysian Maritime Zone (MMZ) before being intercepted.

The aircraft, identified as the Ilyushin Il-76 and Xian Y-20, had flown through the Singapore flight information region (FIR) at heights of 23,000 and 27,000 feet at a speed of 290 knots, which equals to about 530 km/h, before entering the Malaysian Maritime Zone and the Kota Kinabalu FIR and reaching some 60 nautical miles off the Sarawak coast.

RMAF said it launched a fleet of planes at 1.33pm to carry out visual identification when the aircraft failed to heed its directive to contact the Kota Kinabalu air traffic control.

“This incident amounts to a serious threat to national sovereignty and aviation safety, taking into account the air traffic density in the airways at the KK FIR,” it said.

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