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Two Malaysian vessels still anchored in Singapore waters off Tuas: Vivian Balakrishnan

Two Malaysian vessels still anchored in Singapore waters off Tuas: Vivian Balakrishnan

An aerial view taken from a helicopter of Johor and Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Two Malaysian government vessels are still anchored in Singapore's territorial waters off Tuas, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in Parliament on Monday (Apr 1).

For that reason, the terms of a recent agreement between Singapore and Malaysia have not been implemented yet, he added. 

As part of measures to dial down tensions in the maritime dispute, both countries last month agreed to mutually suspend the implementation of their overlapping port limits.

They also agreed not to anchor government vessels in the area, as well as suspend commercial activities there.

Those measures were to be implemented within one month, by Apr 14. 

"There are two Malaysian government vessels which I believe are still anchored there at this point in time, so the terms of agreement have not been implemented yet," Dr Balakrishnan said on Monday. 

"We hope that the recommendations will be implemented as soon as possible within the agreed timeframe. This will allow the ground situation to be de-escalated, and then both sides can embark on maritime boundary delimitation negotiations."

READ: Singapore-Malaysia maritime dispute: Both sides agree to suspend overlapping port limits

READ: Singapore, Malaysia maritime dispute: A timeline

Dr Balakrishnan was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng, who asked about the benefits of the agreement with Malaysia to suspend overlapping claims, and if there were any foreign ships in Singapore's waters off Tuas. 

The agreement is a positive and concrete step forward for both countries, said Dr Balakrishnan.

"(It) is reflective of Singapore’s commitment to resolve our issues with Malaysia in a calm and rational and amicable manner, in accordance with international law, and to nurture this very important bilateral relationship whilst safeguarding our national interests," he said. 

“This is a process that will take time, but both sides are committed to negotiate in good faith, and in the event that we are unable to arrive at an amicable solution on delimitation, we may mutually agree to resort to an appropriate international third-party dispute settlement procedure on terms to be mutually agreed by the parties.”

Source: CNA/na(gs)

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