Publish Date : Nov 02, 2016
China and Malaysia intend to deepen naval ties by developing a littoral mission vessel for Malaysia. The deal was signed by Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Razak said that the two littoral vessels will be purchased by Malaysia but built in China. There will be other naval ships to be purchased but will be under government financing.
In an article, Razak wrote, "This deal will enhance the Malaysian shipbuilding and defense industry."
Reuters reported, "The ships are considered fast patrol vessels primarily used for coastal security, which can be equipped with a helicopter flight deck and missiles."
Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said that the joint cooperation among the two countries aims to strengthen stability in the South China Sea.
"Both China and Malaysia are countries surrounding the South China Sea, and the strengthening of their naval cooperation will enhance mutual trust," said Liu.
The Malaysian government made pronouncements on social media on the formalization of the partnerships.
On a Facebook post, Malaysian defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, "On November 5, 2016, the Defence Ministry will sign a contract for the procurement of Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) with SASTIND (the State Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense), which is an important part of the schedule during the Prime Minister's official visit to China."
The Prime Minister will be in China for five days.
Malaysia and the U.S have strained relations that were brought about by the lawsuit made by the Department of Justice linked to the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The fund was created by the prime minister.
China came to the rescue of Razak when it bought assets from the firm amounting to $2.3 billion.