Malaysia and China are to engage in joint military exercises beginning next year, nine years after having signed a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation, according to Bernama.

Malaysia 's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who is on his maiden visit to Beijing , said the exercises will encompass the three disciplines of land, sea and air.

He said the holding of the exercises is one of the matters agreed during his meeting with China 's Defence Minister Gen Chang Wanquan on October 29 to forge a more comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two countries.

In a statement sent to Bernama from Beijing , Minister Hishammuddin said that both sides agreed to foster greater cooperation in defence, particularly in holding joint exercises, exchange of military personnel, establishing cooperation in the defence industry and fighting terrorism and transnational crime.

During his visit from October 29-31, Hishammuddin met with several of China 's top leaders, including First Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Gen Fan Changlong.

He was taken on a visit to the headquarters of the Southern Sea Fleet Command in Zhanjiang and the Guangzhou Military Region, which is one of the seven military administrative regions in China .

He said that he had invited Gen Chang to visit the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base in Teluk Sepanggar, Sabah, to jointly launch the establishment of direct contact between Malaysia 's Naval Region Command 2 (Mawilla 2) and China 's Southern Sea Fleet Command.

Malaysia officially established defence cooperation with China in 2005 but it has hitherto been confined to exchange of visits and education.

Hishammuddin expressed his belief that this visit will enable Malaysia-China defence ties to expand and encompass other fields and consolidate interaction between the two countries.-VNA