SINGAPORE: The South China Sea issue remains a concern for Malaysia to this day, says defence minister Mohamad Hasan.
Malaysia, he said, will continue to work with Asean member states to intensify negotiations with China on the realisation of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.
Mohamad was speaking at a press conference held after “Breakfast Talk: Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA)” hosted by his Singaporean counterpart, Dr Ng Eng Hen, on the sidelines of the 20th Shangri-la Dialogue here today.
Mohamad said Malaysia continues to aspire to become a trusted partner and to connect with FPDA members to ensure the peace and prosperity of the region.
FPDA is a series of bilateral defence relationships involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Mohamad said Malaysia was proposing FPDA as a pathway for greater strategic and defence cooperation in training and capacity building.
“Malaysia will work closely with FPDA members to pursue other cooperation in strengthening the defence industry, advancing shared technology and conducting joint exercises,” he said.
He noted that although FPDA and its members enjoy close relationship with each other, “Malaysia will not be taking sides and insists on the position of a non-aligned state”.
Aside from Ng, also present at the press conference were Australia’s deputy prime minister and defence minister Richard Marles, New Zealand defence minister Andrew Little, and the United Kingdom secretary of state for defence Ben Wallace.