Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has voiced his concerns that the newly-established security partnership among Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) would raise tensions and spark a regional arms race.

In a phone call with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, Ismail Sabri warned that the partnership, which would arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, would provoke other powers to also act aggressively in the region, especially in the South China Sea, Xinhua news agency reported, citing a statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office.

“As a country in ASEAN, Malaysia holds the principle of maintaining ASEAN as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality,” he said, urging all parties to avoid any provocation as well as arms competition in the region, and emphasised the importance of respecting and maintaining the status quo.

The US and the UK have recently said that they will share highly sensitive nuclear submarine technology with Australia, a key part of the three countries’ newly-established security partnership AUKUS.

–IANS

int/shs

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