Chinese defence minister’s visit followed SOPs, says Ismail Sabri

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin during his recent visit. (Twitter pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob has maintained that the recent official visit by Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe had adhered to the relevant SOPs.

He said foreign officials were allowed to enter the country for government-to-government relations, adding that they were required to be tested for the virus three days before their flight and also upon arrival.

After testing negative at the airport, the visitors were brought to their hotel and remained there before heading out to meet Ismail and also Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

After the meetings, they were brought back to their hotel before flying back, Ismail said.

“We discussed various issues, including the South China Sea. We reiterated our stand that every matter involving the South China Sea should be managed through diplomatic negotiations,” he said at a press conference today.

Ismail said the official visit was done without inviting the local media as they wanted it to be a closed-door session, adding that it would be harder to manage if Malaysian newsmen were there.

He said they did not want to publicise the visit since there were still travel restrictions on certain foreigners.

He maintained, however, that this decision was not wrong as this visit involved official matters between the two countries, while in compliance with strict SOPs.

Before this, former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong had questioned the government’s decision not to publicise the Chinese defence minister’s visit, saying it was puzzling that local media were not invited to cover the event.

Muhyiddin and Ismail had met Wei in separate meetings on Monday, based on a report by China’s official news agency Xinhua.