Belt, Road ‘aims for shared development’
Former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim has lauded the Chinaproposed Belt and Road Initiative, saying the initiative, in which there is “a lot of wisdom”, aims for shared development for countries.
Although bilateral discussions are still needed in specific areas, the initiative is “very much welcome” because China is more proactive in developing the region, Anwar told reporters in Beijing when he visited Renmin University of China last week.
“I have seen countries’ very positive reaction to the initiative so far,” he said.
This is Anwar’s first overseas visit after winning a parliamentary by-election in October. He was Malaysia’s deputy prime minister from 1993 to 1998 and now serves as a lawmaker.
He said Malaysia considers China to be a major strategic partner. “We are very clear the country wants to enhance investment, trade, economic, cultural relations with China.”
Anwar expressed hope that the two countries can develop cooperation in such areas as robotic technology, IT, artificial intelligence and high-end manufacturing to boost China’s exports while benefiting Malaysia.
He said the current Malaysian government stays committed to enhancing relations with China, adding that his Beijing trip is to promote the understanding reached between President Xi Jinping and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir made an official visit to China in August, during which he said Malaysia supports and is willing to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Anwar also called for youth exchanges to enhance people-to-people ties as it is very important for young people to understand each other’s political system, policies and culture so as to help boost the countries’ relations in the long term.
Speaking of the ongoing trade frictions between China and the United States, Anwar said his country opposes trade protectionism and supports free trade.
A country that promoted free trade for hundreds of years has abandoned its commitments, Anwar said, adding that he believes China has the experience and ability to solve the problems.