Executive Intelligence Review


Malaysia’s Mahathir Wants Warships out of South China Sea, Offers Peace Formula

June 20, 2018 (EIRNS)—In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said warships should not be in the disputed South China Sea.

“I think there should not be too many warships. Warships create tension.... Someday, somebody might make some mistakes and there will be a fight, some ships will be lost, and there might be a war. We don’t want that,”

he said.

Describing his peace plan, Mahathir said that one way to keep the peace in the South China Sea would be for the waters to be “patrolled by small boats” that would be “equipped to deal with pirates, not to fight another war.” When asked by the daily who should be involved in these patrols, Mahathir replied that countries from the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were a natural choice because “the whole sea is surrounded by ASEAN countries.” He continued that

“if China wants to participate with small boats, they are welcome. Anybody, even the U.S. if they want to participate—but don’t bring battleships here.”

When asked about his government’s position on the South China Sea, the Malaysian prime minister said he just wants Malaysia to continue occupying the disputed islands that it currently holds.

“There are certain rocks which we have developed into islands. And we hope that we will stay on those islands, because it is a part of our keeping the sea safe from pirates and others. So we want to retain, of course, about four or five islands that we have occupied,”

Mahathir told SCMP. “The rest—whoever thinks it is theirs, they can occupy.”