On 01 June, Malaysia dared to assert itself against China when the latter reportedly encroached on Malaysia’s airspace.
Malaysia scrambled several of its Hawk 208 fighter jets to intercept 16 Chinese warplanes that approached Malaysia’s Kota Kinabalu Flight Information Region (FIR).
MANILA — Many Filipinos must have quietly wished the Philippines can imitate Malaysia in standing up to mighty, giant China.
For years, Malaysia has avoided making any comments concerning China’s ambiguous claims over the entirety of the South China Sea.
In contrast, the Philippines through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been filing diplomatic protests against China for the incursions of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force claimed that Chinese warplanes were detected in its FIR and they were flying in tactical formation and did not respond to radio calls for identification.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that Malaysian military was alerted when the warplanes were ignoring the Malaysian air traffic controller’s instructions prompting the Royal Malaysian Air Force to immediately scramble Hawk 208s to get visual identification of the Chinese warplanes.
Later, the Chinese aircraft were identified to be Ilyushin 1l-76s and Xian Y-20s.
The Xian Y-20 is China’s largest military plane. It is used for transporting military equipment and other heavy hardware. It can even carry and transport fighter jets, tanks, and military bases components.
Southeast Asian observers say Malaysia’s very strong response sends a clear message to China that it cannot be bullied.
Describing it as an “intrusion”, the Malaysian foreign ministry has summoned China’s ambassador to explain why their warplanes breached Malaysian airspace and violated its sovereignty.
It may be recalled that on 25 December 2020, the same type of Chinese warplane landed for the first time on Kagitingan Reef in the West Philippine Sea. (JD/Headline PH)
Featured image: Can’t bully us. The Royal Malaysian Air Force Hawk 208s in fight.