Singapore and Malaysia to discuss ongoing maritime and airspace disputes

Singapore and Malaysia to discuss ongoing maritime and airspace disputes

The foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia will today discuss resolving ongoing maritime and airspace disputes between the two Southeast

Photo: Reuters

The foreign ministers of Singapore and Malaysia will today discuss resolving ongoing maritime and airspace disputes between the two Southeast Asian neighbours.

The two states have committed to resolving long-standing maritime disputes near one of the most important commercial waterways in the world, the Malacca Strait. The dispute is two-fold: Singapore accuses Malaysia of extending its maritime territory around its Johor Bahru port limits, impinging on its maritime territory, and Malaysia has argued that Singaporean control of parts of its southern airspace has impeded its economic development. This raises the prospect that efforts to renegotiate their maritime and airspace access agreements will have negative implications for their water import and land reclamation disputes.

Malaysian PM Mahathir has called for a ten-fold increase in the price of water exports to Singapore if a settlement is not reached, despite the city state relying upon such imports for half of its needs. A potential settlement of the maritime and airspace disputes could be a precursor for more constructive talks on the issue of water supply in the future. However, with the water agreements fixed for another few decades, expect both countries to put greater emphasis on resolving their smaller maritime and airspace disputes.

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