Malaysia said it scrambled fighter jets to intercept a group of Chinese military aircraft off its cost in the South China sea, denouncing such actions as an “intrusion.”
Malaysia said the incident happened on Monday off the Malaysian part of Borneo island over the waters also contested by China.
The Malaysian air force said in a statement that Chinese air force transport planes, numbering 16, were in “tactical formation” when they approached an area within about 60 nautical miles off the coast.
When the Malaysian air force scrambled its jets, the Chinese jets flew off. Attempts were made to contact the Chinese aircraft group but no response was returned.
The air force described the appearance of the planes as “suspicious”.
While the aircraft did not enter Malaysian airspace over the country’s territorial waters, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said they had flown over Malaysia’s “maritime zone.”
Hussein said the foreign ministry will lodge a protest with Beijing and summon the Chinese ambassador for an “explanation regarding this breach of the Malaysian airspace and sovereignty.”
“Malaysia’s stand is clear — having friendly diplomatic relations with any countries does not mean that we will compromise our national security,” he said.
“Malaysia remains steadfast in defending our dignity and our sovereignty,” he added. SOVEREIGNPH