A Chinese submarine has docked in Malaysia in the second such visit to the
South-east Asian country this year. It had stayed at the Malaysian port for
four days from September eight.
Chinese submarines have been often spotted on the Indian Ocean region
during the last two years. Its nuclear submarine had docked at Hambantota port
two years ago sparking protests from India. The port itself has been bought
over by a Chinese company in a recent deal.
Tensions between China and Malaysia over their overlapping claims, however,
appear to have eased after Malaysia agreed late last year to buy four Chinese
naval vessels. Both the countries have agreed to resolve the disputes over the
South China Sea bilaterally.
China has been claiming nearly all the South China Sea through which
international trade to the tune of four trillion US Dollars passes through
every year. Malaysia has been contesting Chinese claims over South China Sea
along with Brunei, Philliphines and Taiwan. They had the tacit backing of
United States and its mighty seventh fleet patrolling the sea quite often. It
appears that Kula Lumpur has since patched up with Beijing.
The Royal Malaysian Navy confirmed the visit by the Chinese submarine,
which docked at the Sepanggar naval base in the state of Sabah in Borneo
between September 8 and 12th.
RMN chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said it was standard
international procedure to welcome visits by foreign navy vessels, "based
on each nation's request and upon diplomatic clearance".
"This is part of our efforts to enhance defence diplomacy and
strengthening bilateral relations," he said in a statement.
The submarine was escorted by a surface ship from the PLA Navy and was
returning to China after conducting escort missions in the Gulf of Aden,
according to defence magazine Jane's 360, which first reported the submarine's
docking at a Malaysina port.
In January this year, another Chinese submarine had docked in Sepanggar,
only the second confirmed visit of a Chinese submarine to a foreign port,
according to state Malaysian Media.
Chinese warships have also been calling at ports in Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Sri Lanka and Myanmar, a source of irritant for India.