SHAH ALAM: Ties between Malaysia and China are growing stronger with the two countries entering into “durian diplomacy”, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong.
He said this closeness would continue to grow now that China had started buying the King of Fruits from Malaysia.
“Recently, China has been buying up our durian, the Musang King.
“I remember that America and China had ping pong diplomacy. Now, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and President Xi Jinping have ‘durian diplomacy’, as our Prime Minister pushed durians (to China) and it benefits our farmers here,” said Mah.
Ping pong diplomacy, which took place in the 1970s, saw an exchange of table tennis players between the United States and China as the countries’ relationship improved.
Mah was speaking to reporters at the i-City’s Red Carpet 2 interactive wax museum during a celebration to commemorate i-Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong’s 35-year business achievement with China.
Lim was the first Malaysian to invest in China in 1984 with the setting up of the Tianjin Dreamland Spring Mattress joint venture.
During the event, Mah was also taken on a tour of the wax museum.
“I am really impressed because the wax figures look so real. I am proud to know that they are made from rubber,” said Mah, adding that this indicated the number of high-end items and technology that could go into rubber production.
The figures are made from a mixture of rubber and silicone.
Rubber, which is one of Malaysia’s biggest commodities, has seen an increase in exports due to the nation’s close relationship with China, Mah said.
Between January and July this year, Malaysia exported RM4.89bil worth of rubber and rubber-based products to China, almost double that of RM2.43bil in 2016, he added.
He said Malaysia had become China’s largest trading partner in South-East Asia, while China had been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the past eight years.
“Bilateral trade stood at RM163bil between January and July this year, up by 27.7% compared to RM127.6bil previously,” he said.
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