Malaysia is likely to sign a contract from China to buy littoral mission ships during Prime Minister Najib Razak visit to Beijing next week.
If the purchase takes place, it would be Malaysia's significant contract with China in the wake of rising tensions in South China. China and Malaysia would "continue to cooperate and communicate regularly across all spheres," China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang was quoted as saying to Reuters by various media Friday.
"On November 5, 2016, the Defence Ministry will sign a contract for the procurement of Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) with SASTIND (the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense), which is an important part of the schedule during the Prime Minister's official visit to China," Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
Littoral Mission Ships are fast patrol vessels that can be equipped with a helicopter flight deck and carry missiles. They are primarily used for coastal security, maritime patrol and surveillance, but can also be deployed for disaster relief and search and rescue operations.
Ties between Malaysia and China reached a new peak in December when China came to Najib's rescue with a $2.3 billion deal to buy assets of scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), helping ease Najib's concern over the firm's mounting debt.