Malaysia and Japan agreed to raise their bilateral ties to strategic partnership following talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his visiting Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, in Tokyo on May 25.

Addressing a joint press conference after the meeting, Malaysian PM Najib said the two countries decided to raise their relationship to a Strategic Partnership.

The ties between both countries have progressed well over the years alongside cooperation in various fields such as economy, tourism and people-to-people exchange, he said.

Both sides shared the determination to enhance their collaboration in five areas, namely cooperation for peace and stability; achieving free, open and stable sea; investment through Look East Policy (LEP) 2.0, expanding cooperation in cultural and people-to-people exchange; and joining regional and global agenda, he added.

On his part, Abe stressed on cooperation in advanced industrial technologies as well as service and managerial skills should be expedited.

Japan would launch the LEP 2.0 Training Programme, a new cost-sharing training programme, targeting to accept 500 trainees from Malaysia over the next five years, the Japanese Prime Minister noted.

He also pledged his support to Malaysia as the chair of ASEAN in leading the bloc into integration.

In addition, both leaders agreed to launch negotiations for cooperation on the transfer of defence equipment and technology.

However, no deal was reached on the 350-kilometre Singapore – Kualua Lumpur rail link.

Concerning China’s massive land reclamation in the East Sea, Abe and Najib urged China and involved parties to settle disputes and differences through peaceful means and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law.

The leaders reaffirmed the significance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the East Sea, and called on the early establishment of an effective code of conduct in the East Sea.

They also confirmed their partnership in the fight against terrorism along with the reforms of the United Nations Security Council, and negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Prime Minister Najib Razak is on a three-day official visit to Japan starting from May 24.-VNA