Malaysia accused 16 mainland Chinese military aircraft of intruding into Malaysian airspace and violating Malaysia’s sovereignty, saying it would summon the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia to lodge a diplomatic protest. The Chinese side denied the intrusion, stressing that it was a routine flight training and complied with international law. Scholars analyze that the Chinese side is to carry out long-range delivery tests to strengthen military capabilities in the South China Sea, not against the provocation of the horse. However, if it triggers discontent among ASEAN countries, it will be beneficial for the United States to conduct military alliance with ASEAN.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force issued a statement on May 1 that a formation of 16 Chinese military aircraft flew into suspicious activity in the South China Sea airspace 60 nautical miles off the northern coast of Malaysia on May 31, entering the Malaysian Maritime Jurisdiction, as well as the Kota Kinabalu Flight Information Region, approaching the Malaysian national airspace. The Malaysian Air Force was forced to urgently deploy aircraft for visual identification. Despite several instruction messages to the Chinese aircraft, the Chinese aircraft did not contact the regional air traffic controller.
Malaysia calls ambassador to protest for violating sovereignty
Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin said the Chinese military aircraft’s actions were a rare intrusion into Malaysian airspace and a violation of sovereignty, considering the density of air traffic on routes within the Kota Kinabalu flight information region. A diplomatic note will be issued to protest, summoning the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia to explain the incident.
China says it enjoys freedom of overflight and denies entering Malaysian airspace
The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia responded by saying that the Chinese military aircraft were on a routine flight training, complying with international law, and did not enter the airspace of another country, enjoying freedom of overflight in the relevant airspace in accordance with the law. China and Malaysia are friendly neighbors, and China is willing to continue to work with the Malaysian side through bilateral friendly consultations to maintain regional peace and stability.
Taiwan military commentator Qi Leyi interviewed by Radio Free Asia analysis, Chinese military aircraft flew to the Malaysian state of Sarawak, far beyond the Spratly Islands, even south of Zengmu dark sand, has exceeded China’s self-proclaimed nine-dash line coastline sovereignty claim.
Leyi Qi said: “For the first time China’s state-built Yun-20 heavy transport aircraft, coupled with the Russian Il-76 long-range transport aircraft, which is clearly a test of strategic delivery capabilities, especially the Yun-20 is domestically produced. The ability of large transport aircraft to fly very far means that they can be loaded with heavy weapons for long-range delivery to locations where there may be war or trouble.”
Military Expert: China Tests Strategic Delivery Capability of State-Made Transport Aircraft
Qi Leyi mentioned that China sent the Russian IL-76 long-range transport aircraft is the most famous in 2011 Libya evacuation, took off from Xinjiang, flew five countries, six time zones to Libya, a one-way air flight of twelve hours, is the farthest, this should be the second time to fly so far, as to where to take off from is the focus.
Qi Leyi study, although not into Malaysian airspace, the Malaysian air force should be suspected that the Chinese side to make some reconnaissance or other suspicious movements? “Look at the map should be into the exclusive economic zone of Malaysia, although also international airspace, but must pass harmlessly, can not carry out any military as, including reconnaissance should not have, of course, this is the first time such a situation, the air force of any other country will rise to understand.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense think tank, the National Defense Institute of Security Research Institute of Defense Strategy and Resources Director Su Ziyun interviewed by Radio Free Asia also concluded that China should be to show the rapid “strategic projection” (strategic projection) capabilities to Malaysia, showing that it can quickly send military power when necessary, in order to intimidate the horse.
Malaysia’s territorial distribution shows a V-shape, at the southernmost tip of the South China Sea, controlling the southern edge of the South China Sea, a geopolitical feature,” said Su Ziyun. The sovereignty dispute between China and Malaysia in the South China Sea is mainly in the area of the North and South Condominium Sands. Yesterday, Chinese military aircraft should be in the area of the North Kang Dark Sands, which is disputed by both sides. In addition to the sovereignty dispute, there are 3 billion barrels of oil and gas resources around, which are also important strategic materials, so neither side will easily give up. Beyond sovereignty, there are also substantial strategic economic interests.”
Su Ziyun mentioned that China and Malaysia have had a number of conflicts in recent years, with Chinese maritime police vessels having forced their way close to the Malaysian oil drilling platform at the end of 2019, and the Malaysian country sending naval patrols and sailing close to the Chinese maritime police vessels, causing a standoff. The fuse should be the USS Roosevelt carrier battle group’s joint military exercise with the Royal Malaysian Air Force in the South China Sea in April this year.
Scholars: Beijing’s strategic goals and means contradictory push ASEAN to the United States
Su Ziyun analysis, Malaysia in the past two years gradually give up again to “quiet diplomacy” (silent diplomacy) against China. “The Chinese government’s expansion in the South China Sea is no longer tolerated by Kuala Lumpur, which has been working more closely with the United States. From the perspective of the entire regional strategy, it is relatively advantageous to the United States, because the United States does not have any sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and so on, have sovereignty disputes with China, which means that ASEAN is forced to fall back on more cooperation with the United States militarily, which is not good for Beijing.”
Su Ziyun mentioned that the ASEAN summit last June issued an unprecedented collective statement asking China to abide by international rules in the South China Sea. In February this year the Vietnamese Air Force intercepted Chinese military aircraft. Last month there was a standoff between the Indonesian coast guard and Chinese maritime police vessels. “Beijing is caught in a dilemma, hoping to shape the grace and power, economic absorption of ASEAN, sovereignty can not show flexibility and more assertive, the United States is now also a lot of business opportunities from China withdrawn to Southeast Asia, regardless of security or economic interests, have become the leverage of cooperation between Southeast Asia and the United States.”
Su Ziyun said, when Japan, South Korea and other seven industrial countries have included the Taiwan Strait in the statement, China-EU investment agreement changes, China and ASEAN crisis, Beijing war-wolf diplomacy, multiple war is not wise. In the past, when ASEAN favored the United States in terms of security, China sold weapons and equipment to ASEAN, and sold twelve patrol ships to Malaysia, when China’s “Belt and Road” had the greatest influence, but now it seems that China’s arms diplomacy in ASEAN has failed. China’s continued military expansion in the South China Sea threatens to give Beijing greater recoil and put China in a strategic dilemma.
Defending the South China Sea against the United States, not Malaysia?
Taiwan’s Asia-Pacific Defense magazine editor-in-chief Zheng Jiwen interviewed by Radio Free Asia analyzed that the U.S. is implementing free navigation and free overflights in the South China Sea, and the military is heating up, and the situation is getting tougher for China, a chicken and egg problem. “The United States, Europe, Australia, India and other countries in response to the United States concern about the South China Sea issue, the common code to increase the South China Sea activities, is bound to intensify China’s military activities in the South China Sea waters to defend sovereignty to increase his code, and neighboring countries strife will only be more and more.”
Zheng Jiwen believes that Chinese military aircraft approaching Malaysian airspace, dare not say whether it is aimed at Malaysia or ASEAN, at least for the consolidation of his artificial islands in the South China Sea overall protection or strengthen surveillance capabilities, and therefore friction with neighboring countries.
Zheng Jiwen expects that whether Chinese military aircraft will be normalized is directly proportional to the U.S. military ramp-up in the South China Sea, but it is believed that China will work with ASEAN countries to improve relations and risk management bilaterally, respectively. How Beijing strengthens its military presence in the South China Sea, while taking into account the balance of relations with neighboring countries, is worth watching.