19/06/2024 10:24 PM

By Voon Miaw Ping

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) -- China will continue to work with Malaysia in advancing their friendship and bilateral relations for mutual benefits and a brighter future for both nations, said its Premier Li Qiang.

Speaking at a dinner to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Malaysia-China bilateral relations, which was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim here on Wednesday, Li said the relationship is a fine example of relations between countries in the region.

Li emphasised the milestone as a new starting point for both nations to chart a stronger and more prosperous shared future together.

“Be it in the past, present or future, friendship remains the defining feature of China-Malaysia relations. We have brought this relationship to a new starting point, and we share the aspiration to carry it forward to future generations,” he said.

Towards that, Li highlighted four proposals that both countries can focus on to build a stronger relationship going forward.

The first, he said is to enhance the traditional friendship and consolidate the foundation for bilateral relations.

“It is important to keep to the right direction in growing this bilateral relation, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, build stronger political mutual trust, and pursue wide-ranging cooperation in the context of building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future,” he said.

Secondly, Li said there is a need to synergise development strategies of the two countries while expanding on their mutual interests.

“It is important to develop greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Madani Economy Framework, step up trade in agricultural and other products, and tap the potential for cooperation in emerging areas, such as green energy and advanced manufacturing, so as to deliver more benefits to our two peoples,” he said.

On the third suggestion, the Chinese premier highlighted on the need to deepen exchanges and mutual learning to promote further understanding of the peoples in the two countries, including in the fields of arts and culture, tourism, education and sports.

Fourthly, Li proposed for a strengthened solidarity and coordination between China and Malaysia in the international arena to address global challenges together.

“China is ready to work with Malaysia to advocate for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation, and jointly build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful, amicable and harmonious home in Asia.

Li, who is here for a three-day official visit since Tuesday, recalled that 50 years ago, Malaysia had withstood the Cold War pressure to establish a formal relation with China, taking the lead among ASEAN countries.

Today, the ties have remained strong across all fronts, with both nations continuing to steadfastly support each other through hard times while emphasising the relation is based on a win-win cooperation.

“Over the past 50 years of diplomatic ties, China and Malaysia have treated each other with kindness and sincerity, and have remained good neighbours, good friends and good partners.

“Our two countries have rendered each other firm support in exploring the development paths suited to our national conditions. Ours is a fine example of relations between the countries in the region,” he said.

Li also noted that China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years.

He highlighted that fruits from Malaysia like durian and mangosteen are famous among Chinese consumers.

“Through mutually beneficial cooperation, our two countries have both achieved growth and built ever closer economic ties, which have created a strong impetus for our respective modernisation drive,” he said. 

In 2023, China remains Malaysia's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years since 2009, with a trade volume of RM450.84 billion (US$98.90 billion). 

“Going forward, China will march ahead together with Malaysia towards modernisation, champion friendship as the overarching theme in our bilateral relations, and write a new chapter of a shared future,” he said. 

This is Li’s inaugural official visit to Malaysia since taking office in March 2023.

The visit coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, following the signing of the Joint Statement between second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and then-premier Chou En Lai on May 31, 1974.

Malaysia's diplomatic relations with China have strengthened since the upgrading of bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2013.


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