KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA and China are working together to combat militancy, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday.

The defence minister said local authorities were working with their Chinese counterparts in pinpointing areas of militant activity between both nations.

“We are working across divides and fault lines... (Identifying) possible hot spots is something that we are building right now,” he said, after receiving a courtesy call from Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi in a hotel here.

Hishammuddin’s comments came after four members of China’s ethnic Uighur minority community were arrested in Indonesia last month on suspicion they were linked to the Islamic State.

The four were said to have travelled through Kuala Lumpur before heading for Bandung.

Last week, 155 Uighurs were found holed up in two apartments in Taman Bukit Jalil after a tip-off.

Hishammuddin said China and Malaysia needed to step up military-to-military cooperation and build both countries’ defence industries, as agreed in Beijing during the 40th celebration of diplomatic relations earlier this year.

“If we get this right, nothing can stop us from moving further ahead in the future,” he said, adding that bilateral cooperation would help Malaysia as it takes over the chairmanship of Asean next year.

Yang said the Chinese government was looking forward to Malaysia’s stewardship of Asean in the hopes that it would lead to more people-to-people exchanges and more robust ties with the region.

He called for further economic cooperation, saying that the signs were good: bilateral trade would reach its planned target of US$150 billion (RM490 billion) by 2017.

“We need to bring in the creativity of our businessmen, scientists and technologists to boost economic cooperation.”

“We need to enlarge the volume of mutual investment and give priority to each other’s desire to participate in meaningful construction projects in both countries.”

He stressed on the need to maintain high-level diplomatic relations ahead of Malaysia’s participation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing next month.

“We are looking forward to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s active participation at the summit, as Malaysia plays an important role in the success of the meeting.”

Yang, one of China’s top diplomats, was here on a two-day official visit at the invitation of the Malaysian government.