Malaysian PM to visit Philippines on bilateral ties

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with Reuters in Putrajaya, Malaysia June 19, 2018.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will pay a two-day working visit to the Philippines, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the ministry said Mahathir is scheduled to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit on Wednesday and Thursday.

It said "The visit will provide opportunities for both leaders to further strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

"It would also allow Malaysia to highlight the government's current policies and its stand particularly on issues of mutual concern."

The ministry added that the visit was expected to add momentum to the peace process in southern Philippines after the government passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in January, on the creation of a larger autonomous Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines.

"Malaysia has been a staunch supporter of the Mindanao peace process and is honored to play a constructive role as the third-party facilitator in the peace process to ensure greater safety and stability in the Philippines and the region," the ministry said.

The BOL is the result of the decades-long, on-and-off peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim rebel group.

The Philippines is Malaysia's fourth largest trading partner among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries with the total trade between the two growing from $5.93 billion in 2017 to $6.45 billion in 2018.

Source: China Daily