SHIPPING & MARINE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore and Malaysia suspend overlapping port limits off Tuas waters

They will revert the limits placed on 25 October and 6 December 2018.

The governments of Singapore and Malaysia agreed to suspend the implementation of their currently overlapping port limits in the waters off Tuas, Malaysian minister of foreign affairs Dato' Saifuddin Abdullah and Singaporean minister of foreign affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said in a joint statement.

Malaysia and Singapore will revert to the port limits that were in effect prior to 25 October 2018, and 6 December 2018 respectively.

“All of these measures are going to be carried out without prejudice to our respective maritime boundary claims in the area. After these measures are implemented, we will commence negotiations for the maritime boundary delimitation in the relevant area within a month,” Balakrishnan said.

On 25 October, Malaysia declared an extension to the Johor Bahru port limits beyond its territorial claims in its 1979 map. As a response, Singapore also extended its port limits on 6 December.

The two countries also agreed to suspend and block commercial activities in the area, not anchor government vessels, and operate according to the international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

A committee for boundary elimination will also be established and will be headed by the secretary general of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the permanent secretary of the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On the topics of 1962 water agreement, the two ministers said that the attorneys-general of Malaysia and Singapore will continue their discussions to better understand each other's position.

“We also reaffirm our commitment to resolve bilateral issues in a constructive manner and encourage ongoing diplomatic efforts to find amicable solutions for mutual interests,” Saifuddin said.

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