The Malaysian Armed Forces and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) began their first-ever bilateral military exercise yesterday to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The five-day tabletop exercise at the Armed Forces’ Joint Warfare Centre (Pesama) saw 20 officers from Malaysia combining their expertise with PLA’s 21-men delegation to develop a common framework for humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
“We seek to enhance cooperation between the two armed forces, especially in disaster relief operations, and to a certain extent, on counter-hijacking in the open seas,” Jen Zulkifeli told reporters.
The PLA team was led by Operations Department deputy director-general, Senior Captain (Navy) Jiang Ke.
“It (joint exercises) will develop into something that is more current. Basically it will be non-war related operations,” he said when asked if the joint exercises could evolve into offensive-type operations.
Senior Capt Jiang added that the tabletop exercise was a historic moment for both militaries as it symbolises the expansion of Malaysia and China’s defence cooperation.
“China and Malaysia share common strategic interests in this region, and a good foundation to jointly tackle major natural disasters, as well as the obligation to safeguard regional stability and security of international sea lanes.”
In September 2005, Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral defence cooperation with China – the first of its kind between a South-East Asian country and China.
The memorandum paved the way for the establishment of working groups under the Security Defence and Strategic Consultation in September 2012, reciprocal high-level visits involving PLA’s deputy Chief of the General Staff and Malaysia’s Defence Minister, and a Defence Working Group Meeting in March 2012. (The Star)