Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (Bernama file photo)KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Bernama) -- Taking the issue of overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will only be the last resort if negotiations fail between the countries involved.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia, however, was confident that the negotiation process between the ASEAN countries involved and China over the overlapping claims was the best avenue.
"Malaysia believes that negotiations conducted based on international law are still the best way to resolving this issue.
"Referring the issue to third parties like the ICJ and arbitral tribunal will only be the last resort," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri (BN-Kudat) in the Dewan Rakyat, here, Thursday.
Earlier, Anifah said the ASEAN countries involved in the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea did not recognise the claims made by China based on the nine-dash line (drawn on a 1940s map) as it was not in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
"Malaysia's stand on the overlapping claims in the South China is clear and consistent
"All claims and solutions must be based on international law including UNCLOS 1982," he said.
On the issue of Beting Patinggi Ali, Anifah said Malaysia had never regarded the area as a disputed area or an area with overlapping claims between Malaysia and any other country.
"I wish to stress that the government will never compromise on this mattter as it can jeopardise regional peace and our national interest," he said.
The ASEAN countries involved in overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea are Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam.