Singapore in line as Malaysia gets offer of rocket launchers

China | 11 Aug 2017

China will offer Malaysia advanced rocket launchers and a radar system to be based on the southern tip of the country, a move that could raise security concerns for neighboring Singapore.

The offer was to be made by a delegation of Chinese

officials who visited Malaysia this week for the launch of a US$13 billion (HK$101.4 billion) rail project being built by China, news portal Malaysian Insight reported.

Up to 12 units of the AR3 multiple- launch artillery rocket system (MLRS) will be offered to Malaysia in a purchase program with a loan period of 50 years, a source said.

The size of the loan or the cost of the ordnance was not disclosed. The type of radar system was also not disclosed.

The Straits Times also reported the offer, quoting a senior Malaysian government source as saying it was touched on during talks between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Chinese State Councillor Wang Yong at the ground-breaking ceremony for the rail project.

A firm decision on the proposal would be made only during a planned visit of President Xi Jinping to Malaysia later this year.

China has been upset with Singapore in recent months because of what China has viewed as undue interference by the city-state over the South China Sea dispute and Singapore's close defense ties with the United States and Taiwan.

The AR3 artillery rocket system was built by China specifically for export. It first came into use in 2011 and is regarded as one of the most powerful MLRS units available.

Malaysia signed a deal to purchase four littoral mission ships from China last year.


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