National / Politics

Amid strengthening ties with China, Malaysian leader to make three-day visit to Japan

Kyodo

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will arrive in Japan on Tuesday for a three-day visit.

Najib will hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his working visit, made at the invitation of Abe, and also meet with Keiichi Ishii, the infrastructure and transport minister, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

It did not elaborate on what would be discussed during the meetings. Najib will be paying his fourth visit to Japan since assuming office in 2009.

A Japanese source said earlier that Abe may announce the transfer of two large patrol ships to Malaysia to help the Southeast Asian country bolster its maritime security.

Malaysia has competing territorial claims over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea with China, a dispute that involves several nations. Beijing claims virtually the entire strategic waterway.

But Malaysia is strengthening ties with China and Najib made a weeklong trip to the country earlier this month. After the trip he said Malaysia had decided to buy four naval ships from China, it was reported in the Malaysian media.

Abe and Ishii are also likely to pitch Japan’s bullet-train technology and equipment for a proposed high-speed railway linking the Malaysian commercial capital of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the source said.

The international tender for the project is expected to take place next year.

Najib will also hold talks with Hiroyuki Ishige, chairman of the government-backed Japan External Trade Organization, and members of the Japan-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendship Association.

“Malaysia and Japan continue to enjoy close cooperation in key areas such as economy and trade, investment, science and technology, higher education, human capital development, culture, air services and taxation,” the ministry said.

Last year, Japan was Malaysia’s fourth-largest trading partner with bilateral trade totaling $32.77 billion. Japan also remains the largest foreign investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector, and more than 1,400 Japanese companies have operations in Malaysia.