Malaysia-US discuss joint ventures to enhance capabilities of RMAF – Hishammuddin
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and the United States (US) have held specific discussions on joint ventures towards boosting the capabilities of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
Hishammuddin said the discussion was held through a telephone conversation with US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd J. Austin III on Wednesday and both of them agreed that there is still room to further strengthen cooperation through ‘Building Partner Capacity’.
“Malaysia-US defence cooperation is now at a very strong level. Only recently the US donated medical equipment to the Royal Health Corps worth US$3 million (RM13.8 million),” he said in a post on his personal Facebook today.
Hishammuddin said that in total the US has contributed more than US$200 million (RM920 million) to bolster Malaysia’s defence capabilities. “KD Lekir has also just returned after being given the honour to participate in #RIMPAC2022 (the Rim of the Pacific Exercise) in Hawaii,” he said.
In the phone conversation, Hishammuddin said he and Austin also took the opportunity to exchange views on current security issues including the South China Sea and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
“Before ending the conversation, I invite him to #LIMA2023 (Langkawi International Aerospace and Maritime Exhibition) next year including the involvement of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels,” he said.Meanwhile, Austin in a statement posted on his Twitter said they also discussed opportunities for further alignment between the United States (US) and Malaysia as the two countries pursue a shared vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.
According to the statement, the two leaders noted several significant milestones in US-Malaysia defence cooperation, including the completion of a Defence/POW-MIA (prisoners of war-missing in action) agreement in August, and commitment to complete a new agreement to shape defence cooperation by the end of the year.
“US stands ready to expand cooperation with Malaysia in increasingly deep and meaningful ways that will protect its sovereignty and independence, including through support for the development of Malaysia’s capabilities and information sharing.
“They confirmed cooperation on a range of concrete and innovative defence initiatives aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the statement said.