Malaysia says it is to summon China’s ambassador after 16 Chinese military aircraft flew over disputed waters off its eastern state of Sarawak.
Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the transport planes on Monday after detecting “suspicious” activity over the South China Sea.
Malaysia’s foreign ministry described the manoeuvre as a “serious threat to national sovereignty”.
Beijing continues to claim an area known as the “nine-dash line” and has backed its claim with island-building and patrols, expanding its military presence while maintaining that its intentions are peaceful.
According to the Malaysian air force, the Chinese aircraft were “flying in tactical formation” at up to 27,000 ft (8.2km) and came within 60 nautical miles (110km) of Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. Attempts to contact them went unheeded, a statement said.
Malaysian fighter jets were then scrambled from the Labuan Air Base to carry out “visual identification”.
Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Chinese ambassador was being summoned to explain the “breach of the Malaysian airspace and sovereignty”.
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