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Anwar says Petronas project in South China Sea in Malaysian territory

The prime minister says Petronas will continue its exploration activities there.

Reuters
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A Petronas oil rig stands off the coast of East Malaysia. Photo: AFP
A Petronas oil rig stands off the coast of East Malaysia. Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today said he had told China that an exploration project by state energy firm Petronas in the South China Sea was within Malaysian waters, in a reference to an overlapping claim in the area by Beijing.

China was worried that "Petronas has carried out a major activity at an area that is also claimed by China," Anwar said in response to a parliamentary question about his discussions on the South China Sea during his visit to China last week.

"I stressed... that Malaysia sees the area as Malaysian territory therefore Petronas will continue its exploration activities there," Anwar said, without specifying an offshore project or a location.

But if China feels this is their right, Malaysia is open for negotiations, Anwar said, reiterating comments made earlier this week.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its territory via a "nine-dash line" on its maps, which cuts into the exclusive economic zones of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

The foreign ministry will issue a protest note if there are "collisions" between Malaysian and Chinese vessels in the area, Anwar said.

The Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur was not immediately available for comment.

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