Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Monday, April 3, that Malaysia is prepared to negotiate the South China Sea dispute with Beijing.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, a strategic water passage where trillions of dollars in trade pass annually. This is despite an international court ruling that Beijing’s assertion has no legal basis. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have overlapping claims in the sea.
Prime Minister Anwar, said the “sensitive” issue was raised at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Malaysia’s state energy firm Petronas has its largest oil platform in the disputed area, as well as several exploration projects.
“I told him, as a small country we need the resources. We have to continue the projects,” Anwar said during a monthly speech at the Prime Minister’s Office.
“But if the condition is that there must be negotiations, then we are ready to negotiate,” Anwar added.
The Prime Minister did not provide further details on the conversation with President Xi Jinping.