China-Malaysia ties at forefront among relations between regional countries, says Chinese Premier Li Qiang

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese Premier Li Qiang said Wednesday that China-Malaysia ties are at the forefront among relations between regional countries, and have set a benchmark and an example.

He made the remarks in a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The Chinese premier is paying his first official visit to the Southeast Asian country.

Noting this year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia, as well as a "China-Malaysia Friendship Year," Li said that in the past half-century, no matter how the international situation has changed, China and Malaysia have always been committed to sincere friendship, win-win cooperation and mutual learning and that their relationship has been steadily moving forward.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Anwar reached an important consensus on jointly building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, creating a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations in the new era, Li noted.

The Chinese premier said China is ready to work with Malaysia to continue to prioritise bilateral relations in their respective foreign policies and take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties to accelerate the building of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, maintain close high-level exchanges, strengthen cooperation in various sectors and continuously enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Li said China is ready to work with Malaysia to synergise their development strategies more closely and give full play to their complementary advantages.

China is willing to work with Malaysia to steadily advance the construction of major projects such as the East Coast Rail Link and the "Two Countries, Twin Parks," while expanding the scale of trade and investment, promoting cooperation in such areas as logistics, new energy, artificial intelligence, digital economy and railway equipment, and strengthening cooperation in poverty reduction to better achieve win-win cooperation, he said.

Li called on the two sides to increase people-to-people and cultural exchanges in such areas as culture, tourism, and education, as well as between the youths of the two nations and at the sub-national level to further facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries.

China, Li said, is ready to work closely with Malaysia in multilateral areas, promote the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and Asian values featuring peace, cooperation, inclusiveness and integration, and jointly safeguard the centrality of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in regional cooperation.

He also urged the two sides to promote a high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and conclude the negotiations for version 3.0 of the China-Asean Free Trade Area as soon as possible to jointly contribute to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and the world at large.

For his part, Anwar said Malaysia cherishes its friendship with China and is firmly committed to consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Malaysia adheres to the one-China policy, firmly supports the reunification of China, and does not support any words or deeds advocating "Taiwan independence," he said.

Noting that Malaysia-China relations are at a new starting point, Anwar said that Malaysia is willing to take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, in the spirit of mutual respect, to further strengthen exchanges at various levels as well as cooperation in such areas as trade, investment, agriculture, digital economy, education and poverty reduction, actively advance the construction of major projects, promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, enhance mutual learning among civilisations and advance dialogue and cooperation between China and Asean.

Malaysia supports major initiatives proposed by President Xi, such as the Global Development Initiative, welcomes China's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, and stands ready to work with China to build a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, he added.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common concern.

The two leaders have agreed to unswervingly strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation and take the building of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future to a higher level.

They have also pledged to continue to promote the high-quality implementation of the RCEP, push for the early conclusion of the negotiations for version 3.0 of the China-Asean Free Trade Area, and build a closer China-Asean community with a shared future.

They have agreed that China and relevant Asean countries should independently and properly handle the South China Sea issue, manage disputes and differences, promote dialogue and cooperation, and stick to the general direction of bilateral settlement.

Following their talks, the two leaders also witnessed the exchange of a number of bilateral cooperation documents in such fields as economy and trade, science and technology, culture, tourism, postal services, agricultural products exports to China, digital economy, green development, urban construction and higher education.

Before the talks, Anwar held a grand welcoming ceremony for Li at the square in front of the Prime Minister's office. Chinese and Malaysian national flags fluttered in the wind. The two leaders stepped onto the reviewing stand. The national anthems of China and Malaysia were played. Then, Li inspected the honour guards. - Xinhua

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