Malaysia’s Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein recently received a courtesy call from China’s Central Military Commission vice-chairman Xu Qiliang yesterday. Among the issues discussed in the meeting was the establishment of a high-level committee to discuss security and defence issues common to both countries.
The high-level committee will be chaired by both Malaysia and China’s defence ministers and will look at aspects to strengthen bilateral links and institutionalize relationships with China. Also discussed were security issues pertaining to North Korea, the South China Sea and on terrorism.
This is another very positive development between Malaysia and China in ensuring stability and peace not only between the two countries, but other countries in the region amidst strains due to overlapping claims to the East and South China Seas.
Malaysia has always relied on its proactive pragmatic bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and cooperation in ensuring stability, peace and prosperity in the region. With the recent Malaysian chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015 with the theme “Our People, Our Community, Our Vision”, Malaysia has made leaps and bounds in establishing and securing strategic partnership and cooperation with its neighbours.
Last year alone, Malaysia has penned several strategic agreements and MoU on security and defence with its neighbouring countries to address pressing regional and transnational security issues. In May 2016, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines signed The Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement to coordinated sea patrols and establish a hotline to combat piracy and kidnappings in waters bordering the three Southeast Asian nations. In October, Malaysia and Thailand agreed to boost security cooperation and consider building a border wall to combat transnational crime and smuggling. In November 2016, The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) initiated bilateral cooperation with Philippines police to strengthen security in the waters off ESSZone (Eastern Sabah Security Zone) against terrorist threats.
Malaysian and all the countries in the region are faced with common challenges such as terrorism, transnational crimes, disasters and accidents. With the strategic defence and security cooperation in place, Malaysia and other ASEAN countries will be able to maintain regional security and stability for years to come.