BEIJING - Malaysia and China will conduct joint military exercises next year.
During his first official visit to China as Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said it would be the first time for both countries to hold joint exercises since the memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation was signed in 2005.
"Malaysia plans to have armed force exercises in 2014," he said in a statement. Hishammuddin is in China for a three-day visit.
This follows Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit early this month to Malaysia where he and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak touched on boosting military cooperation.
"The purpose of my visit is to strengthen military ties between Malaysia and China. This trip is significant as we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations next year," he said.
Hishammuddin met his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan on Tuesday to discuss the agreement on enhancing strategic cooperation.
"Both sides have agreed to foster cooperation in the field of defence through joint exercises, exchange of navy officers and military and defence industry resources to combat terrorism and transnational crime," Hishammuddin said.
He added that he had extended an invitation to Chang to visit the Royal Malaysia Navy base at Teluk Sepanggar in Sabah to launch direct contact between Malaysia's Naval Sea Region 2 headquarters and China's South Sea Fleet.
Malaysia has established official military ties with China since 2005.