KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and China are to engage in joint military exercises beginning next year, nine years after having signed a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who is on his maiden visit to Beijing following his appointment to the post in May, said the exercises would encompass the three disciplines of land, sea and air.
He said the holding of the exercises was one of the matters agreed to during his meeting with China’s Defence Minister Gen Chang Wanquan yesterday to forge a more comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two countries.
“Both sides agreed to foster greater cooperation in defence, particularly in holding joint exercises, exchange of military personnel, establishing cooperation in the defence industry and fighting terrorism and transnational crime,” he said in a statement sent to Bernama from Beijing.
Hishammuddin’s visit was aimed at strengthening bilateral defence relations besides following up on the state visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to Malaysia from Oct 3 to 5.
Malaysia had officially established defence cooperation with China in 2005 but it had hitherto been confined to exchange of visits and education.
Hishammuddin said his visit also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, which would be celebrated next year.
He said he had invited Gen Chang to visit the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base in Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah, to jointly launch the establishment of direct contact between Malaysia’s Naval Region Command 2 (Mawilla 2) and China’s Southern Sea Fleet Command.
Hishammuddin also met with several of China’s top leaders, including Vice Chairman 1 of the Central Military Commission, Gen Fan Changlong.
He was taken on a visit to the headquarters of the Southern Sea Fleet Command in Zhanjiang and the Guangzhou Military Region, which is one of the seven military administrative regions in China.— Bernama