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Malaysia remains committed to safeguarding its interests and rights in the South China Sea, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Thursday, amid a standoff between Chinese and Malaysian vessels in the disputed waters.

U.S. and Australian warships arrived in the South China Sea this week near an area where a Chinese government survey vessel has been operating close to a drillship contracted by Malaysian state oil company Petronas, regional security sources have said.

Hishammuddin said any disputes should be resolved through peaceful means.

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“While international law guarantees the freedom of navigation, the presence of warships and vessels in the South China Sea has the potential to increase tensions that in turn may result in miscalculations which may affect peace, security and stability in the region,” Hishammuddin said in a statement.

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