Malaysia and Japan signed an agreement Wednesday aimed at paving the way for the transfer of Japanese defense equipment and technology to the Southeast Asian country.
The new agreement establishes a relationship of “security cooperation” between the countries, Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Makio Miyagawa told reporters after a signing ceremony on the sidelines of a regional security forum and exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
The agreement stipulates procedures for each specific transfer and rules on the use of defense equipment and technology.
Miyagawa said Malaysia is interested in acquiring from Japan surveillance aircraft, vessels, radar, satellites and communications equipment, among other hardware.
Malaysia and several other ASEAN countries like the Philippines have claims in the South China Sea that overlap with those of China. China is accused of militarizing the outposts it built in disputed areas in the sea.
In May 2015, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe agreed to start negotiating an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology in the fields of maritime security and disaster relief.
Malaysia is only the second country to have forged such a deal with Japan among the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The Philippines and Japan signed a similar agreement in February 2016. Under the deal, Japan has given the Philippine Navy five trainer aircraft that had been used by its Maritime Self-Defense Force.