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Malaysia ties time-honored

Updated: 2014-05-30 03:36 (China Daily)

Malaysia ties time-honored

Premier Li Keqiang accompanies Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at a welcome ceremony in Beijing, May 29, 2014. [Photo by Wu Zhiyi / China Daily]

The missing Malaysia Airlines flight will not overshadow relations between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, leaders of the two countries have declared through a series of high-profile events marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Premier Li Keqiang told visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday, "Chinese people say that at the age of 40 one should no longer have any doubts.

"Your visit at this important moment, the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, embodies a lot of significance."

Analysts said both countries were consolidating their ties and seeking stronger support from each other as China tackled simmering tensions in the South China Sea and with Malaysia poised to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations next year.

Najib, who began a six-day visit to China on Tuesday, met with Li on Thursday after visiting Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province.

During their closed-door meeting, which lasted for more than 90 minutes, Li urged Malaysia to formulate a new working plan in the search for flight MH370.

Earlier on Thursday, Australia said the area where acoustic signals thought to be linked to the Malaysian plane were detected could now be ruled out as its final resting place, Reuters reported.

The Boeing 777-200 disappeared on March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Of the 239 people onboard, 154 were Chinese.

Li said China had not halted the search for the plane and was paying great attention to this and related issues.

He urged Malaysia to continue its leading and coordinating role in the search, to continue to investigate the incident, comfort passengers' relatives and heed their "reasonable" appeals.

Najib said his country would do whatever it could to comfort the passengers' families and to continue the search with China, Australia and other countries.

The tragic incident was so complex and unprecedented that cooperation with many countries was called for, he said.

Although it had been a very "painful and testing" time for Malaysia and China, Najib stressed that the "understanding, friendship and partnership" that had developed over the years would enable both countries to find solutions to the plane's disappearance.

Najib is not scheduled to meet passengers’ relatives during his visit.

Luo Yongkun, a researcher of Southeast Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the two governments were signaling that their ties were very mature and would not be affected by the missing plane incident or by provocation from others.

"Relations with Malaysia are especially important for China amid tensions with the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as the political turmoil in Thailand,” he said. "Najib’s visit illustrates the strategic position of China-Malaysia relations.”

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said the Chinese government knew the importance of its relations with Malaysia, as the regional situation was becoming increasingly complicated and the US was focusing on Asia-Pacific.

During the meeting, Li said China recognized Malaysia as a friendly neighbor and important partner among ASEAN countries.

A communique released after Thursday’s meeting said the two countries agreed that direct negotiations between parties concerned should be used to solve disputes in the South China Sea to avoid complicating and internationalizing the issue.

China and Malaysia signed deals on facilitating trade and setting up consulates.


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