Malaysian PM Muhyiddin meets China's Defence Minister on bilateral cooperation

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) met with Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Sept 7, 2020. PHOTOS: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin met visiting Chinese State Councilor and Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Monday (Sept 7), with the two sides discussing bilateral cooperation, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin extended his congratulations to China on its success in containing the Covid-19 outbreak.

And with the "tremendous support" from China, Malaysia has been able to contain the outbreak, Xinhua quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

It added that Mr Muhyiddin expressed his hope that the two countries would continue cooperation against the coronavirus disease.

Malaysia wants to strengthen its bilateral cooperation with China in all fields, PM Muhyiddin said, including in defence, economy and trade, and education, among others.

Mr Wei said the friendship between China and Malaysia has a long history, and bilateral relationship has always enjoyed healthy and stable development, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese minister was also quoted as saying that China is committed to strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries, and constantly advance military to military ties to achieve fresh results.

Mr Wei also pointed out that safeguarding the stability in the South China Sea is a shared responsibility of China and Malaysia, the Chinese news agency said.

As the overall situation in the South China Sea has remained stable, China is willing to work with Asean countries, including Malaysia, to meet each other halfway so as to keep the peace and tranquility of the South China Sea, he said.

In Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (Sept 9), former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong asked why the meeting, "an important event", wasn't covered in the Malaysian media.

News and pictures of the meeting were only reported by China's media.

"China and US are two superpowers that have interests in this region. I am not sure why it was not covered at all in Malaysia and the media had to get it from Chinese sources," Mr Liew said at a news conference, when asked about the China-Malaysia meeting.

"We are in a region where a crisis can happen at any moment, especially in South China Sea, where the US and China are, in a context, in a strategic competition," he said.

Mr Liew added: "A crisis, which may happen in South China Sea, needs Malaysia's voice. Not necessarily, and should not be, by siding with China or US, but we must tell them that Asean does not want to choose between the two. We need both of them but we do not wish to choose."

Mr Wei also on Monday held an official meeting with Malaysian Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Xinhua said the two sides exchanged views on issues including international and regional situation, the relations between the two militaries as well as the South China Sea.

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