Malaysian PM Najib Razak (L) and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull at the meeting.(Source: EPA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Malaysia and Australia agreed to lift their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during a sideline meeting at the 27th ASEAN Submit and related meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 18-22.

In a joint statement on November 22, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation and understanding with a view to contributing to security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

They will intensify political cooperation through annual meetings between foreign ministers, talks among senior officials, strategic dialogues and enhanced defence dialogue.

These meetings aim to allow exchanges of views, ideas and initiatives to develop a shared understanding of strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

In defense and security, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the Malaysia-Australia Joint Defence Programme, which provides a sound basis for ongoing collaboration on defence matters.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral cooperation in combating irregular migration and human trafficking.

In addition, the two sides highlighted the significance of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement in intensifying economic and trade relations, directing their ministers responsible for the trade to convene the Joint Trade Committee meeting at least once every two years.-VNA