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Tuesday, January 08, 2019, 18:08
Malaysia, Singapore agree to steps to curb air, sea tensions
By Reuters
Tuesday, January 08, 2019, 18:08 By Reuters

This Nov 26, 2013 photo shows a view of the causeway bordering Malaysia's southern state of Johor Bahru (background) and Singapore (foreground). According to a joint statement issued by Malaysia's and Singapore's foreign ministries, both countries have agreed on Jan 8, 2019 to take steps to de-escalate air and maritime disputes. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)

SINGAPORE — Malaysia and Singapore on Tuesday agreed to take steps to de-escalate air and maritime disputes, according to a joint statement issued by their foreign ministries. 

The measures include the simultaneous suspension of a restricted area in Malaysia near the border with Singapore and instrument landing procedures at Singapore's Seletar Airport, which Malaysia has objected to on the grounds that it could hamper building development in its southern-most state. 

READ MORE: M'sia seeks return of airspace control from S'pore amid dispute

On the maritime front, the sides agreed to the establishment of a working group to discuss issues around port limits. Singapore last month protested to Malaysia's plan to extend the limits of a port saying it encroached on its territorial waters. 

"Both sides reiterated their commitment to preserving the vital relationship between both countries and to improving bilateral ties, on the basis of equality and mutual respect," reads the statement issued after a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers on Tuesday. 

"They agreed on the importance of keeping the situation on the ground calm to allow discussions to take place in a conducive atmosphere." 

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