malaysia to buy navy vessels from china in blow to us
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

Malaysia to buy navy vessels from China in blow to US

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Malaysia to buy navy vessels from China in blow to US

Malaysian Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak, right, speaks as he unveils the Malaysia's 2017 budget at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday.
Manila/Kuala Lumpur - Arab Today

Malaysia will sign a contract to purchase Littoral Mission Ships from China when Prime Minister Najib Razak visits Beijing next week, according to a Facebook posting by the country’s Ministry of Defense.
The text of a speech to be delivered by Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was posted on Facebook on Tuesday, but was later removed after Reuters asked a defense ministry spokesman for comment.
The purchase of the patrol vessels, if it proceeds, would be Malaysia’s first significant defense deal with China and comes amid rising tensions in the South China Sea and as the United States and China compete for influence in the region.
Malaysia’s ties with the United States became strained after the Department of Justice filed lawsuits linked to a money-laundering investigation at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which Najib founded and had overseen as chairman of its advisory council.
Najib is traveling to China on Sunday for a week-long visit.
Littoral Mission Ships are fast patrol vessels that can be equipped with a helicopter flight deck and carry missiles. They are primarily used for coastal security, maritime patrol and surveillance, but can also be deployed for disaster relief and search and rescue operations.
Ties between Malaysia and China reached a new peak in December when China came to Najib’s rescue with a $2.3 billion deal to buy assets of scandal-hit state fund 1MDB, helping ease Najib’s concern over the firm’s mounting debt.
Najib is traveling with dozens of government leaders and business people to China. In a statement on Wednesday, he said Malaysia was committed to strengthening friendship with China and pushing ties to “new highs.”
Malaysia could buy up to 10 of the littoral mission ships at a cost of approximately 300 million ringgit ($71.43 million) each, said Lam Choong Wah, senior fellow at REFSA, a Malaysia research institute. He is also the author of a book on Malaysian military capability.

Source: Arab News

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