Malaysia and Vietnam raised concern over reports that said China was ramping up military assets on the Spratly islands in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The defence minister of Malaysia said he would seek clarification in writing from his Chinese counterpart. On the other hand, a Vietnamese spokesman reasserted the country's claim to the conflicted islands.
"Vietnam is very worried about this information," Le Hai Binh, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement issued late on Friday, quoted by The Nation.
The Star reported Hishammuddin Hussein said in Malaysia that there were two matters, which he viewed were the main concerns in the South China Sea dispute. These two were accidental and unintended incidents in the high seas and the increase in militarisation.
After witnessing the handover of duties of the new Armed Forces Chief at Wisma Pertahanan, Hussein said: "If the reports are true that China is placing military assets on the islands, it would force Malaysia into a 'pushback' against China."
According to The Star, he also said that he would write to the US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter to enquire on the legitimacy of the claims.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that China appeared to have installed weapons on artificial islands it is said to have built in the South China Sea.