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Missing jet will strengthen China and Malaysia ties, expert

By Peng Yining ( Updated: 2014-03-19 22:54

The case of missing flight MH370 will strengthen relations between China and Malaysia, said K. S. Balakrishnan, an international affairs expert at a Malaysian government think tank and senior lecturer at the University of Malaysia.

"The incident is a test for the relations between the two countries, but we will overcome it and achieve deeper and wider cooperation on security issues and anti-terrorism," he said.

Balakrishnan admitted the incident has been the biggest challenge for Malaysia since the beginning of the 21st century, and he suggested that the Malaysian government should fully cooperate with countries involved in the search and improve the transparency of the information.

Concerning the repeated calls from the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia for more accurate information, Balakrishnan said China expressed frustration because of the lack of progress in the search, but this does not mean there are frictions between the two countries.

However, he added that some areas, including tourism, will be affected by the incident, but only in the short term.

"In the long run, the bond between China and Malaysia will grow stronger," he said.

Balakrishnan said the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in August 2013 marked a big step for relations between the two countries, and many projects were launched after the meeting, including an oil pipeline crossing the country.

In addition, Xiamen University, one of China's top institutions of higher learning, plans to open a branch in Malaysia.

Balakrishnan said that it is the first time that a Chinese university is opening a branch overseas – and the fact that it is planned for Malaysia indicates that China has much influence in the country.

The expert also said that Malaysia has "less of a problem with China, compared with other countries including the Philippines," adding that relations between China and Malaysia are "90 percent positive and 10 percent negative."

"We are a small country," he said. "We would like to see more balanced relations, rather than depending on one country too much."

Regarding missing flight MH370, Balakrishnan said he believes local officials are trying their best, and – as there are still no clear answers regarding the mystery surrounding the plane's disappearance - people should not rush to any conclusions.

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