PETALING JAYA- Malaysia and China are committed to finding a negotiated solution to the long-standing territorial dispute between the two countries over the South China Sea, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
In an exclusive interview with China Central Television in Beijing on Friday, Najib said he recognised that both countries have their differences on this matter but the key was to manage the differences in a rational and mature manner.
"First, we must be committed based on the principles of the Declaration of Conduct. In other words, we reject the use of force, we don't want to increase tension and we want to look for a negotiated solution," he said during his six-day official visit to China which ended yesterday.
He also expressed joy on the release of Shanghai woman Gao Huayun, who was kidnapped from the Singamata Reef Resort in Semporna and held captive in Jolo in southern Philippines for almost two months.
"I told those in charge to do what needs to be done to ensure that by the time I meet President Xi Jinping, I can deliver good news.
"Thankfully, they accomplished that. When I conveyed the message to President Xi (in a bilateral meeting on Friday), he was very, very delighted, to say the least," he said.
During the interview, Najib also defended the decision to focus the search for Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
"We were guided by the evidence and to the best of our knowledge, it has been agreed by all experts, including the Chinese, British, United States and Malaysian experts, that the aircraft ended at the southern part of the Indian Ocean," he said.
In Johor Baru, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said authorities from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain had assured Malaysia during the ninth Five Power Defence Arrangement meeting of their continuous support as the search for Malaysia Airlines jetliner entered a new phase.
Officials from the four countries, he said, had been briefed on the four committees set up for the new phase, including a bilateral committee for the search.