SHAH ALAM: Japan is to provide rescue boats to Malaysia, Kyodo News reported today. It said that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed Saturday with his Malaysian counterpart Anwar Ibrahim to supply rescue boats to the Southeast Asian nation’s military, with China’s growing maritime assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific in focus.
The provision would be carried out under Tokyo’s new framework for like-minded countries that share fundamental values, called official security assistance or OSA. Malaysia is the third country, after the Philippines and Bangladesh, to engage with Japan on the program, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Kishida and Anwar reached the agreement during talks in Tokyo on the sidelines of three-day events related to a special summit starting Saturday between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to commemorate 50 years of friendship and cooperation.
The latest assistance offered to Malaysia by Japan, which has a war-renouncing Constitution that prohibits the maintenance of military forces, is worth 400 million yen ($2.8 million). Tokyo will also offer surveillance drones to Kuala Lumpur, the ministry said.
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According to a Wisma Putra release, at the meeting, both Prime Ministers announced the elevation of Malaysia-Japan bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership through the issuance of a
Joint Statement. It said as comprehensive strategic partners, both countries agreed to further
enhance cooperation in five key areas, namely Peace and Security Cooperation; Continued Engagement at All Levels for Economic Prosperity; Science, Technology, Innovation and Environment; Society, Cultural and People-to-People Exchange; and Regional and Global Cooperation.
For the Peace and Security Cooperation, the joint statement stated that both leaders decided to continue dialogues between the defence authorities of the two countries as well as to further promote training and exchanges between the Self-Defense Forces and the Malaysian Armed Forces.
They also concurred in promoting concrete cooperation under the Agreement concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology and welcomed the cooperation being implemented on capacity building in the field of Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR).
Both leaders welcomed the signing of the Exchange of Notes for the Official Security Assistance (OSA) grant aid for the benefit of the armed forces of Malaysia. They also confirmed their intention to strengthen further cooperation between the Japan Coast Guard and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
The OSA grant aid is likely where the rescue boats and surveillance drones comes in. Anyhow, it is clear that while Japan is willing to gift other items – patrol ships and radars, it is likely that Malaysia preferred less controversial things like the rescue boats and surveillance drones. If you asked why, clearly you are not paying attention to things. Back in the day we had no problems getting patrol boats from Japan.
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