KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — Malaysia and Japan have agreed for the Strategic Partnership between the two countries to be upgraded to a Strategic Comprehensive Partnership, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.
Saifuddin said in order to coordinate the upgrade, Malaysia has started discussions at the official level by identifying areas of cooperation for the benefit of both countries.
“We agree that the area of cooperation for the upgrade needs to take into account mutual interests to ensure continued economic growth, peace and stability as well as sustainable development, especially when Malaysia and Japan are still in the post-Covid-19 recovery phase.
“Both countries agreed for a bilateral meeting between senior officials of the respective Foreign Ministry to be held in the near future to strengthen existing areas of bilateral cooperation and identify new areas, taking into account regional and international security developments.
“This includes trade and investment, digital technology, education, human resource development, renewable energy and tourism,” said Saifuddin during a joint press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, here, today.
Hayashi is currently on a two-day visit to Malaysia to strengthen bilateral relations in conjunction with the 65th anniversary of Malaysia-Japan diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy.
Malaysia and Japan upgraded their bilateral relations to a Strategic Partnership in 2015 when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visited Malaysia in his capacity as the then Foreign Minister.
Saifuddin added that both countries also expressed their appreciation for the commitment shown by their respective countries in aiding the process of establishing a branch campus of the University of Tsukuba in Malaysia.
“The intention to establish this campus is to give Malaysian students more exposure and access to the Japanese education system. “Therefore, both countries have high hopes for the establishment of this branch campus of the University of Tsukuba so that it can be realised according to the target (year) of 2024,” he said.
On regional and international issues, Saifuddin said Malaysia and Japan are greatly concerned about the developments in Myanmar.
The two countries also agreed to continue their cooperation in finding the best solution to the situation in Myanmar, be it within bilateral Malaysia-Japan cooperation or cooperation within the Asean framework.
Meanwhile, Hayashi said Japan would like to strengthen the cooperation with Malaysia to realise the principle of a free and open Indo-Pacific in dealing with the geopolitical issues plaguing the world today.
Student and professional exchange programmes between the two countries will also continue to be intensified, following Japan’s relaxation of border control procedures which will start on Oct 11.
Ahead of the 50th anniversary of Japan-Asean friendship and cooperation next year, Hayashi also expressed Japan’s willingness to revitalise in-person (face-to-face) bilateral relations and continue to develop good relations with Malaysia. — Bernama