KUALA LUMPUR: Diplomatic relations and defence directions between Malaysia and China have been further enhanced with the setting up of a high-level committee among the two countries.
The move was the outcome of a meeting with Chinese defence minister General Chang Wanquan during his three-day official visit to China, which began last Friday, Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Sunday (Apr 23).
In a statement, Hishammuddin said the setting up of the committee was to identify a more practical and structured form of cooperation in defence.
Hishammuddin said he had instructed Malaysian Army Chief General Zulkiple Kassim and the Malaysian Air Force Chief Gen Affendi Buang to discuss further on the defence and military cooperation.
"Malaysia and China also have to organise more frequent exchange visits in future to improve communication, understanding, and also to further strengthen the trust," he added.
Apart from that, he said the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) had also agreed that the coming ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise be conducted in the ASEAN waters.
"This move is intended to strengthen defence cooperation and enhance operability among countries involved to react against maritime threat. This matter will be finalised soon," he said.
During the official visit, Hishammuddin also met China Central Military Commission vice-chairman General Xu Qiliang, State Councillor of the State Council Yang Jiechi and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun.
He said various topics were discussed, especially on threats brought by the spread of terrorist ideology, especially from the Daesh militant group, during the meetings.
"Both countries also agreed on the need to give serious attention to the global security landscape which is fast changing and becoming more challenging.
"We also look into the role that should be played by both countries in ensuring peace and stability in the South China Sea is preserved," he added.
During the visit, Hishammuddin witnessed the signing of a sub-contract between Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB) and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd (CSOC) on a joint building of four Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) for the Royal Malaysian Navy.
"The first two ships will be build in China. The expertise and the cost, which is lower in China, will be used by BNSSB to build the remaining two ships in Malaysia.
"The acquisition of the LMS is an important history for the country as it is the first time Malaysia is buying its defence asset from China,"" he added.
Hishammuddin also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) and the Peking University, China.