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Military training with China won't affect ties with other countries

Malaysia's military exercise with China will not jeopardise its foreign relations with other countries.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia also conducts joint military training with Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States.

"These collaborations do not mean that we are closed to (other) foreign relations. We have to look for points of common interest.

"Islamic State (IS) is a common enemy for everybody. It is something we have to work together, notwithstanding the geopolitics of the day.

"This exercise does not create any doubt among our other friends," he told reporters after attending Aman Youyi Exercise (Peace Friendship 2016), a joint military exercise between the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Paya Indah Wetland in Dengkil today.

Hishammuddin said Malaysia plans to set up a high-level committee with China for more focused and structured collaboration in defence.

He and China's Defence Minister Chang Wanquan would be the co-chairpersons of the committee.

It would have four working groups, namely the Military to Military Working Group (M2MWG), Defence Industry Working Group (DIWG), Cyber Defence and Intelligence Working Group (CDIWG), and the Strategic Defence Consultation Working Group (SDC).

"This high-level committee will foster relations between Malaysia and China especially in defence. These efforts prove that the Defence Ministry is committed to preserve the country's peace and posterity."

The M2MWG will focus on Malaysia-China military collaboration and organising the Peace Friendship exercise while the DIWG will focus on cooperation within the defence industry such as the Littoral Mission Ships which would be jointly built by Malaysian and Chinese companies.

Hishammuddin said the CDIWG will involve joint-ventures in cyber defence and intelligence, while the SDC would look into the best strategies and formulae to combat extremist threats.

The Peace Friendship exercise followed the agreement signed between Malaysia and China on Nov 1 during the visit of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to Beijing.

Other areas covered by the agreement include exchange of military expertise, joint military exercises, sharing of intelligence information and exchange of visits by military delegations from both nations and exchange of officials for career development.

The Peace Friendship exercise involved soldiers from the MAF and the PLA and 10 observers from the Royal Thai Armed Forces who would give their views and assessment of the effectiveness of the exercise.

The theme of the exercise was Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

- Bernama

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