Premier Li's visit strengthens Malaysia-China relations, says Foreign Minister

SEREMBAN: A three-day-official visit by Chinese Premier Li Qiang to Malaysia will further cement ties between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing and pave the way for both countries to better resolve outstanding issues, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

The Foreign Minister said the visit will also allow both countries to explore new areas for collaboration and to further build on the 50 years of diplomatic ties that began in 1974.

"Although this year marks the 50th anniversary of both nations establishing diplomatic relations, we already had ties with China hundreds of years ago since the time of Hang Li Po and Admiral Cheng Ho.

"So this is not new to us. What we need to work on is to see how we can further strengthen bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of the peoples of both countries," he said when met after launching the Kampung Angkat Madani programe at Kg Kanchong in Rantau near here.

Mohamad said on Tuesday (June 18) that it is important for both countries to bolster cooperation as China is Malaysia's biggest trading partner.

"China is also the world's second largest economy and there are many areas that we can explore and discuss for mutual gain,"he said.

Mohamad said after the welcoming ceremony in Putrajaya, Premier Li is scheduled to have a four-eyed meeting with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim followed by a bilateral meeting between delegations from both countries.

This will be followed by a luncheon to be hosted by the prime minister.

"From there, I will accompany Premier Li for an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and after that he will visit the ECRL project site in Gombak," he said.

He added that Premier Li is also scheduled to meet representatives from the business communities and chambers of commerce during his visit.

Mohamad said several issues may be raised during Premier Li's visit which include the territorial claims in the South China Sea.

"That is why we need to further build on this good cooperation we have established since 1974.

"The good ties we have enjoyed since will allow us to manage and resolve any issue amicably," he said, adding that China also valued the fact that Malaysia was the first Asean country to establish diplomatic relations with it back then.

On a separate matter, Mohamad said Malaysia was prepared to consider becoming a member of any bloc or organisation if this would benefit both the country and the people.

Responding to a statement by Anwar that Malaysia will soon begin formal procedures to join the intergovernmental organisation BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), Mohamad said the move would allow Malaysia's voice to be better heard in the global arena.

Citing Asean as an example, Mohamad said the organisation with a combined population of 700mil people and with the fourth largest GDP was an influential global organisation.

"It is pointless to be part of an organisation if it would not benefit the country and the people. So, we will make an application to be part of BRICS as it allow our voice to be heard and benefits us,"he said.

On another matter, Mohamad urged Malaysians abroad to register with Malaysian missions to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

He said this can also be done online without having to be physically present at the mission.

"In some countries we have more than one mission so it is good if you register so that we can contact you.

"But if Malaysians do not register, then it can be difficult to trace them in the event there is an emergency," he said, adding that Wisma Putra also seeks the assistance of foreign missions here, the police and Interpol to help Malaysians in predicament abroad.

Speaking on the Kampung Angkat Madani programme, Mohamad said this was an initiative by the Prime Minister to provide basic facilities and improve infrastructure in rural areas.

"Wisma Putra has picked Kg Kanchong and Kg Tanjong this year and we will provide an allocation to carry out several initiatives for the benefit of the village folk,"he said adding that these included upgrading the Kg Kanchong community hall, four surau, futsal court and providing street lighting.

At the event, seven cows were also slaughtered and the meat distributed to the poor in conjunction with Hari Raya AidilAdha.

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