With China ramping up its maritime activity in the South China Sea, the Malaysian coast guard held a patrol training Thursday under the guidance of its Japanese counterpart to better deal with foreign ships in the South China Sea.
The drill was aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the Malaysian coast guard, known as the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster NHK News. The exercise held in the waters off the island of Borneo was coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the report added.
As part of the drill, a Malaysian patrol team equipped with a long-range acoustic device practiced warning fishing boats that acted as intruders entering into Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone.
Driven by regional security challenges arising due to China’s aggressive posturing in the South China Sea, the situation in Myanmar and tensions in the Korean Peninsula, the defense cooperation between Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur has grown over the years with bilateral agreements over the transfer of equipment and technology.
As part of the bilateral cooperation, in an effort to ensure the safety and security of international shipping passing through Malaysian waters, Tokyo has donated four long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), a report by Malaysian news agency, Bernama on Monday said.
Citing a statement by the Embassy of Japan in Kuala Lumpur the report added that Tokyo had contributed two large patrol vessels, KM Arau and KM Pekan to Malaysia in 2016 both of which continue to play a vital role in protecting the country’s waters.
In the past Japanese vessels and aircraft have made visits to Malaysia with Japanese destroyers and Malaysian frigates conducting bilateral exercises off the coast of East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia on a number of occasions.
At a meeting held in May 2022, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his then-Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob underlined the importance of maintaining international order based on the rule of law while expressing opposition to unilateral attempts by China to change the status quo in the East and South China seas.
While threatening to forcefully retake self-ruled Taiwan which it considers a “renegade province,” Beijing also lays claim to Japan’s Senkaku isles and Okinawa and the entire South China Sea region based on its so-called “nine-dash line” map which includes exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.