China, Malaysia to work closely on in­fra­struc­ture

Long-term co­op­er­a­tion to ben­e­fit both sides, Pres­i­dent Xi tells vis­it­ing Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By QIN JIZE and ZHANG ZHIHAO Con­tact the writer at qin­jize@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Malaysia agreed on Thurs­day that bi­lat­eral ties are in their best pe­riod ever and that co­op­er­a­tion in the long term will be sought on re­gional in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Dur­ing their meet­ing in Bei­jing, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping told Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak that his guest had in­her­ited the spirit of his fa­ther, Ab­dul Razak Hus­sein, the sec­ond Malaysian prime min­is­ter, and had car­ried China-Malaysia ties for­ward.

“The bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion is in line with the fun­da­men­tal and long-term in­ter­ests of both coun­tries, and we are will­ing to deepen the co­op­er­a­tion in all sec­tors to ben­e­fit the two peo­ples,” Xi said.

He added that he was glad to see that the con­sen­sus reached in pre­vi­ous bi­lat­eral meet­ings has been trans­lated into con­crete re­sults.

Na­jib, who ar­rived in Bei­jing on Tues­day for a six-day trip, de­scribed his visit as “ex­tremely suc­cess­ful”. Bi­lat­eral trust has been en­hanced, and Malaysia is ready to boost co­op­er­a­tion with China in the fields of in­vest­ment, trans­porta­tion and port con­struc­tion, he added.

Naji band his Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang, wit­nessed the sign­ing of a dozen deals that in­clude the pur­chase of four pa­trol ships and loans for the con­struc­tion of a planned rail­way line in Malaysia.

Be­cause his third of­fi­cial trip to China fol­lowed the re­cent visit by Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, some West­ern me­dia por­trayed the visit as a move by China to coun­ter­bal­ance the in­flu­ence of the United States in the re­gion and as an­other set­back for the US pol­icy of re­bal­anc­ing to the Asia-Pa­cific.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing told a news brief­ing on Wed­nes­day that China’s de­vel­op­ment of nor­mal diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween coun­tries never tar­gets any third party and that the en­hance­ment of mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Malaysia is con­ducive to re­gional peace and de­vel­op­ment.

Han Feng, a re­searcher at the Cen­ter of South­east Asian Stud­ies in the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said the West­ern me­dia por­trayal is un­rea­son­able, since Sino-Malaysian ties go back a long way and Malaysia was the first coun­try in the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions re­gion to es­tab­lish a diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship with China.

To­tal bi­lat­eral trade vol­ume was $97.3 bil­lion last year, ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese govern­ment statistics, and trade with China ac­counted for 15.8 per­cent of Malaysia’s to­tal trade world­wide. Among ASEAN coun­tries, Malaysia has been China’s largest trad­ing part­ner since 2008.

“China and Malaysia both are re­form­ing their economies. Given the scale of trade, it is nor­mal for lead­ers from both coun­tries to strengthen mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust and fa­cil­i­tate prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion,” Han said.

China has the cap­i­tal, tech­nol­ogy and ex­pe­ri­ence to build in­fra­struc­ture, fa­cil­i­tate co­op­er­a­tion and gen­er­ate win-win op­por­tu­ni­ties in South­east Asia, he added.

Given the scale of trade, it is nor­mal for lead­ers from both coun­tries to strengthen mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust and fa­cil­i­tate prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion.” Han Feng, a re­searcher at the Cen­ter of South­east Asian Stud­ies in the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences

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