Durian diplomacy: Premier Li salutes Malaysia-China’s shared resilience, marks 50 years of fruitful relations

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian durian and mangosteens have become viral sensations among Chinese consumers, highlighting the ever-deepening and strong economic and trade relations between China and Malaysia, says Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

He said that both nations have consistently embraced principles of cooperation and mutual benefit.

“China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years. Fruits from Malaysia like durian and mangosteens are now trending among Chinese consumers. Through win-win cooperation, both our countries have achieved growth and foster closer economic ties, which have created strong impetus for our respective modernisation drive.

"The mutual development and benefits between our two countries have significantly deepened and accelerated our respective modernisation processes, injecting robust momentum into bilateral economic and trade exchanges," he said during his speech at the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China at the Shangri-La Hotel on Wednesday (June 18).

Li also emphasised the shared resilience of China and Malaysia, recalling the saying “Sharing blessings in times of happiness and facing difficulties together".

Citing past crises (the Asian financial crisis, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Wenchuan earthquake) to the recent global Covid-19 pandemic, he said that Malaysia and China have continuously supported each other, thus fostering mutual understanding and trust.

Highlighting the historical ties that date back 600 years to Admiral Cheng Ho's voyages, Li praised the cultural integration between Confucianism and Islamic traditions.

"Our close interactions are evident, with China being one of Malaysia's largest tourist sources. The sincere goodwill between our people is growing, fostering closeness with every interaction.

"Fifty years ago, Malaysia courageously established diplomatic ties with China, setting a precedent for China-Asean relations. Over the past half-century, the relationship between China and Malaysia has steadily advanced, undeterred by challenges," said Li who is on a three-day official visit to Malaysia.

Looking ahead, the Chinese Premier proposed four initiatives to enhance Malaysia-China relations, including reinforcing the foundation of bilateral ties, aligning development strategies such as developing greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Madani Economy, deepening cultural exchanges and mutual learning through the Global Civilisation Initiative, and uniting to address global challenges.

Li noted that this year's theme of 'China-Malaysia Friendship Year' is particularly meaningful in today's world.

"In a world where some countries are embroiled in conflict and turmoil, what we need is peace and stability, not hegemony or violence. We need empathy, not self-centredness. We need open collaboration, not confrontation," he added.

The celebration was also attended by officials and representatives from various sectors, including Star Media Group chief content officer Datin Paduka Esther Ng.

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