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Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 23:21

China and Malaysia sign deals on navy vessels

By Agencies

China and Malaysia sign deals on navy vessels
China's Premier Li Keqiang (right) and Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak chat during a signing ceremony following their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov 1, 2016. (Jason Lee/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING - Malaysia has agreed to buy four Chinese naval vessels and pledged with Beijing to handle South China Sea disputes bilaterally, a Chinese official said on Tuesday.

Obviously the launching of naval cooperation between the two sides is significant for our bilateral ties

Liu Zhenmin, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister

"Leaders of the two sides agreed to further advance the proper settlement of the South China Sea issue with dialogue through a bilateral channel," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters at Beijing's Great Hall of the People where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his visiting counterpart Prime Minister Najib Razak met.

"Obviously the launching of naval cooperation between the two sides is significant for our bilateral ties. It's a reflection of the very high level, mutual political trust between our two countries," Liu said.

Malaysian state media reported that the vessels are known as littoral mission ships, small craft that operate close to shore. Two will be built in China and two in Malaysia.

Both nations also signed deals for collaboration to build rail projects in Malaysia, which included the 55 billion ringgit ($13.2 billion) East Coast Rail Line.

Najib told Malaysian state news agency Bernama that both countries had made a historic achievement by signing 14 agreements totalling 143.64 billion ringgit ($34.4 billion).

Najib's visit follows that of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who announced the country's "separation" from the United States and signed a raft of memoranda of understanding for Chinese investment in the country.

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