KUALA LUMPUR: The Minister for the Armed Forces of France, Sébastien Lecornu, convened his inaugural official visit to Malaysia today 8th December 2023, since he took office in May 2022.
The Ministry of Defence in a statement said, during this official visit, Sébastien Lecornu and Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Minister of Defence Malaysia, had a productive discussion where they had the opportunity to exchange views on current strategic environments.
“During the discussion, both Ministers expressed their commitments to cooperate in managing regional and international issues of common concern.
“They reaffirmed the centrality of ASEAN and welcomed the presence of France as an observer in the framework of ADMM Plus,” the ministry said in a statement here today.
The statement added both Ministers stressed the importance of working together to maintain the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability, and trade through continuous and peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognised international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).
“They underlined the importance of stability in the Middle East and reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) where both nations are contributors.
“Sébastien Lecornu and Datuk Seri Mohamad also emphasised their commitment to further enhance the defence cooperation between both countries, particularly between military-to-military and in the field of defence science, technology, and industry.
“They also agreed to launch the negotiation of a Status of Forces Agreement, Ministre des Armées de la République Française. Both leaders agreed to resume the Malaysia-France Defence Joint High Strategic Committee (DJHSC) meeting in 2024,” the statement said.
DJHSC is an important platform for discussing shared defence and security issues relevant to both countries.
The statement also emphasized that, as part of this visit, both Ministers also witnessed the signing of a Letter of Agreement (LOA) between the Ministry of Defence Malaysia and Thales Group for the GM400 Long Range Air Defence Radar for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
“This radar will be located in Bintulu, Sarawak, to monitor the airspace over East Malaysia’s coastal waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“Malaysia’s long-standing defence cooperation with France has been instrumental in building the Malaysian Armed Forces’ (MAF) capability and capacity to defend and protect Malaysia’s national interests. On this basis, both agreed to further enhance their partnerships,” the statement said.
The Ministry in its statement added, Malaysia and France highly value their defence partnerships. The visit of Sébastien Lecornu has provided an excellent opportunity for Malaysia and France to strengthen both countries’ bilateral defence relationship.
According to the statement, this approach is fundamental to maintaining security and stability as prescribed by the Third Pillar of the National Defence Strategy, which is on Credible Partnerships, as outlined by Malaysia’s Defence White Paper (DWP), and fully consistent with the French Defence Strategy in the Indo Pacific. –Malaysia World News