Old friends eye for new & higher levels of cooperation

16:49, April 28, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao started his second official visit to Malaysia on April 27 this year since 2005, and Wen's entourship follows Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Kuala Lumpar in November 2009.

Thanks to traditionally good bilateral ties and broad cooperation perspective, China has been attaching great importance to the friendship with Malaysia.

Chinese mariner and explorer Zheng He (AD 1371-1435) was the first "non-governmental ambassador" of Sino-Malaysian friendship. He led a massive regular naval force frequently visited Malacca in early 15th century, expanding influence and knowledge of Chinese culture there.

He and his sailors taught locals to migrate, to cultivate land and dig well, which helped them solve the problems of living essentials such as food, shelters and cloth, and thus won love and esteems from the populace.

As Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak pointed out that the friendship between Malaysia and China went back to ancient time. Zheng He, the great explorer who arrived in Malacca some 600 years ago with vessels and sailors, brought local people with advanced Chinese civilization instead of invading and occupying the country's territory.

Malaysia has been active in developing ties with China since 1970s. It is the first ASEAN country to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1974. It was Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysia second prime minister and father of Najib, who facilitated the friendship. Badawi, the fifth Malaysia prime minister and once the country's foreign minister, enhanced China-ASEAN dialogue, making China one of ASEAN's partner and opening the door for further China-ASEAN ties.

Najib followed his father's trade to push forward Malaysia-China relations in 2009. He visited China two months after taking office and praised China "a sincere friend and partner". Premier Wen gave Najib a photo of Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Premier Zhou Enlai taken when they had jointly signed the joint communiqué about establishing diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia. The photo has drawn fate of the two heads of state and two Asian countries tightly together.

Leaders in both countries stressed the importance of carrying forward the friendly tradition and expanding future cooperation. Friendship and cooperation between the two countries call for better intergovernmental collaboration, exchange and mutual trust among the two people. Premier Wen's current visit to Malaysia will facilitate the signing of a high education cooperation agreement.

Recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in high education between China and Malaysia has expanded cooperation in education, and laid solid foundation for future partnership in term of culture, science and technology.

Exchanges and communication among youths will also help promote mutual understanding and trust, paving the way for further bilateral development. The youths on each side are obliged to carry forward Sino-Malaysia friendship.

Friendship also boosts economic cooperation between the two countries, with frequent economic exchanges and win-win partnership forging ahead. Malaysia is China's largest trading partner among all ASEAN member countries and the ninth largest worldwide; while China is the largest importer of Malaysia's palm oil and natural rubber.

Premier Wen's current visit to Malaysia coincides with the beginning of China-ASEAN's second five-year action plan. The trip, which aims to bring the bilateral ties to a new high, is the essence of decade-long friendship and will paint a rosy picture for the future for Sino-Malaysian relations and Sino-ASEAN ties.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online
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