Japan-Malaysia Defense Minister’s Telephone Conversation

July 20, 2020
Japan Ministry of Defense
in Japanese

On July 20, 2020, Minister KONO had a telephone conversation with Senior Minister of Defence of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob.

  1. The two ministers exchanged views on issues such as the roles to be played by the defense authorities given the global spread of COVID-19. Minister Kono explained about the Japan Self-Defense Forces activities on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, activities to take measures at the airport and to prevent community spread infection, infection-preventative measures undertaken in their operation which resulted in having no deployed member infected with the virus, and analysis by the SDF Central Hospital by using an updated presentation document (see attached). Minister Ismail Sabri also shared on the prevention and control measures undertaken by Malaysia including the role of the Malaysian Armed Forces in addressing the COVID-19 situation.
  2. Furthermore, the two ministers also exchanged views on the current regional security issues including the East China Sea and the South China Sea in light of the current events occurring in the region, and agreed to continue close communication. On this matter, Minister Kono shared that Japan strongly opposes attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by coercion and any activities that add to the tension and that free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is important. Minister Ismail Sabri underscored the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the South China Sea and that matters relating to the South China Sea must be resolved peacefully based on the universally recognized principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
  3. Further, the two ministers exchanged views on defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Malaysia. Minister Kono pointed out the importance of Japan continuing cooperation with other countries that share values and interests from the perspective of maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order that has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the world. Moreover, Minister Kono, taking into consideration the implications of COVID-19, expressed the importance of both countries’ maintaining seamless defense posture and of continued and strengthened bilateral defense cooperation. Both Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen the bilateral defense relations between Japan and Malaysia based on shared interests of both countries.
  4. The two ministers agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19;
  1. sharing information, knowledge and lessons learned about the measures taken by the defense authorities towards overcoming COVID-19 at the earliest stage;
  2. necessity of sharing threat recognition based on the current circumstances and potential effects of the spread of COVID-19 on defense policy of each country; and
  3. promoting defense cooperation and exchanges vigorously while maintaining communication between the defense authorities.