Malaysian PM voices concern over Asean-US naval drills

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday expressed concern over naval exercises being conducted by the United States with Asean countries, saying they could provoke China and threaten security in the region.

On Monday, the Japan Times reported that the US and navies from all 10 Asean countries had kicked off the first Asean-US Maritime Exercise.

The exercise includes drills in the disputed South China Sea as Washington ramps up its moves against alleged “bullying” in the disputed waterway by Beijing. The five-day exercise started in Thailand’s Sattahip Naval Base and will end in Singapore.

During an open dialogue entitled “Balancing Relations with the Superpowers in the Context of Asean” in the capital on Monday, Mr Mahathir said that holding the US-Asean maritime exercise is meaningless and the US is merely using it to test its naval strength in the region.

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