Senior Foreign Ministry official is the new Chinese Ambassador
PETALING JAYA: Bai Tian (pic), who is the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department deputy director-general, is expected to be the new ambassador to Malaysia.
He will be replacing Dr Huang Huikang, whose tenure ends this month after serving in Malaysia since January 2014.
While there is no official announcement from the Chinese Government yet, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah said Huang has told him that an experienced senior officer would be named as his successor.
A high-ranking Malaysian diplomat, who has an active interest in Malaysia-China affairs, said the appointment of a senior foreign ministry officer as the next envoy showed that China recognised Malaysia as an important partner.
“Naming a candidate with a senior position to be the ambassador to Malaysia, it signals that China wishes to further consolidate the bilateral ties between the two countries,” the senior diplomat, who declined to be named, said.
He added that Bai, as one of the four deputy director-generals of the department, was wellknown among South-East Asian diplomats.
The department is in charge of, among other things, diplomatic contacts as well as cooperation and exchanges with the region.
Bai was previously the political counsellor of the Chinese embassy in Manila, Philippines. Pheng said the Chinese community hoped Bai would continue to engage the locals on economic cooperation and cul- tural exchange, like how Dr Huang had done.
“A Chinese envoy plays an important role as the bridge between two countries.
“He paves the way for Chinese investment into the country, which creates job and business opportunities for the locals.
“Likewise, he can also help to facilitate Malaysian investment in mainland China and assist us when we face problems there.
“We are expecting many economic activities in the next few years with the development of the East Coast Rail Link, Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and Melaka Gateway port,” Pheng said.
He added that Huazong would host a welcome banquet for Bai when he arrives.
Bai will be the 15th China ambassador to Malaysia since both countries establish diplomatic ties in 1974.
China is Malaysia’s number one trading partner, while Malaysia has been China’s largest trading partner in Asean since 2008 although Vietnam took over the top spot last year.
Two-way trade between Malaysia and China recorded a year-on-year increase of 18.9% from January to August to reach 416.2bil yuan (RM266.9bil), according to Chinese customs data.