The Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) signed an agreement with Malaysia on Friday to grant a loan facility of 800 million U.S. dollars to start the Second Pinang Bridge project in northern Malaysia.
The general loan agreement was signed in Putrajaya, the administrative center of Malaysia, between the Malaysian government, the EXIM and the Bank Pmbangunan Malaysia to finance the project which is expected to start the construction work soon.
China's Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, who is on a visit to Malaysia, and Malaysia's Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Pinang State's Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon witnessed the signing of the pact.
Building the Second Pinang Bridge was a consensus reached between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Bo said.
Both China and Malaysia have made significant efforts to bring the project to reality, he told a joint press conference after the deal was signed.
The signing of the agreement marked another milestone in the history of friendly cooperation between China and Malaysia, he said.
The Second Pinang Bridge will not only be a bridge serving local people, it will also be a "bridge" marking mutual trust and mutual benefit between the peoples of the two countries, Bo said.
Nor Yakcop said that Malaysia and China enjoyed a long-running history of friendly cooperation, and the signing of the agreement will not only boost local economic development in the Pinang State as well as northern Malaysia, it will also boost the friendly cooperation between Malaysia and China to a new stage.
The planned 22.8km-long bridge linking the Pinang Island and the Peninsular Malaysia is expected to be the longest cross-sea bridge in Southeast Asia if its construction is completed.
Also on Friday, China Harbor Engineering Company signed a contract with Malaysia's UEM Group to build the bridge, which is expected to be completed about three years after its construction work starts.