Ahmad Zahid visits China to deepen long-standing ties

PETALING JAYA: The golden jubilee celebration of Malaysia-China bilateral relations will hit a high note when Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi embarks on an official visit to China starting today.

As both nations mark the 50th anniversary of their friendship which began in 1974, the Deputy Prime Minister’s trip to the Middle Kingdom will be a momentous occasion with several deals expected to be made with Chinese firms and institutions.

A number of memoranda of understanding (MoU) between Malaysian and Chinese companies in the fields of high technology and education will be signed during the visit.

Ahmad Zahid, who is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Mohamad Alamin, is scheduled to also pay a courtesy call to China Premier Li Qiang.

“To further intensify bilateral relations, the Deputy Prime Minister will explore opportunities of cooperation, particularly in the field of education – with a focus on areas such as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), halal industry development as well as people-to-people exchanges.

“Both sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern and interest,” Wisma Putra said in a statement yesterday.

The 11-day visit will begin in Hong Kong, with Ahmad Zahid expected to meet with chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The China trip, which covers Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, came about at the invitation of vice premier Ding Xuexiang.

In Beijing, Ahmad Zahid is expected to hold discussions with Ding and Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong.

To celebrate the friendship between the two nations, Ahmad Zahid will host a gala reception and grace the anniversary celebration of the establishment of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations – which is jointly organised by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.

He will also engage with the Malaysian community in China as part of the Malaysia Madani government initiative.

This marks his first official visit to China since assuming the post of Deputy Prime Minister in December 2022.

Wisma Putra said the trip is part of an exchange of high-level visits lined up for the year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

“Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein made history by being the first Asean leader to establish formal diplomatic relations with China by signing a joint communiqué with then premier Zhou En-lai on May 31, 1974.

“This bold step laid the foundation for a strong partnership, which was later elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013, that has served both countries well,” it said.

China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner globally for 15 consecutive years since 2009. In 2023, total trade with China was valued at RM450.84bil, contributing 17.1% of Malaysia’s global trade.

In the same year, a total of 64 manufacturing projects were approved, with investments totalling RM12bil. These projects are expected to create 9,305 jobs.

China is ranked as the fifth largest investor in the country.

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