(From Reuters)

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Monday he will meet his Australian counterpart next week to discuss China’s military build-up in the disputed South China Sea and hold talks with fellow claimants the Philippines and Vietnam.

China claims most of the energy-rich waters through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Beijing is feeling public pressure at home to show it can protect its claims to the waters after the United States began conducting “freedom of navigation” operations near islands where China has been carrying out controversial reclamation work and stationing advanced weapons.

Hishammuddin said he would meet Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne to ensure efforts are made to “hold China to their promise of not placing military assets in the area”. Read More

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