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China, Malaysia to further elevate ties

By Cao Desheng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-20 06:57
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Premier Li Qiang (left) and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim jointly launch the construction of the East Coast Rail Link's Gombak Integrated Terminal Station during a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Wednesday. DING HAITAO/XINHUA

Beijing and Kuala Lumpur agreed on Wednesday to strengthen bilateral cooperation to take the building of the China-Malaysia community with a shared future to a higher level, as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

During their talks in Kuala Lumpur, Premier Li Qiang and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim agreed that the two countries will continue to promote high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, and strive to advance the conclusion of negotiations for Version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement at an early date in order to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

They also agreed that China and relevant ASEAN countries should handle the South China Sea issue and manage conflicts and differences independently and in a proper manner, promote dialogue and cooperation, and stay committed to solving problems through bilateral efforts.

Li arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday evening for a three-day official visit after wrapping up his official visits to New Zealand and Australia.

During their talks, both leaders hailed the development of bilateral ties over the past half-century.

Li said that no matter how the international landscape has evolved, the two countries have always treated each other with sincerity, pursued win-win cooperation and engaged in exchanges and mutual learning, making the China-Malaysia relationship a front-runner and a prime example of China's relations with countries in the region.

He emphasized that China is willing to work with Malaysia to increase the synergy of development strategies, fully leverage complementary strengths, and promote solid progress in major projects including "Two Countries, Twin Parks" and the East Coast Rail Link.

Li underlined the need for both countries to expand trade and investment, broaden cooperation in logistics, new energy, artificial intelligence, the digital economy, railway equipment and other fields, and step up cooperation on poverty reduction to better achieve mutual benefits.

China is also ready to enhance multilateral coordination with Malaysia to jointly carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the Asian values of peace, cooperation, inclusiveness and integration, and uphold ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation, in order to make more positive contributions to peace, stability, prosperity and development in the region and the world, the premier said.

Anwar said that Malaysia cherishes its friendship with China, and is unswervingly committed to consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Malaysia firmly upholds the one-China policy, firmly supports China in achieving national reunification, and does not support any words or deeds advocating "Taiwan independence", he said.

The prime minister emphasized that his country welcomes China's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is ready to work with China to build a Malaysia-China community with a shared future.

The two prime ministers witnessed the exchange of signed bilateral cooperation documents in such areas as trade, science and technology, culture, tourism, postal service, agricultural exports to China, the digital economy, green development, urban construction and higher education.

Before the talks, Anwar held a grand welcoming ceremony for Li at Perdana Square in front of the Prime Minister's Office. Li reviewed the guard of honor.

On Wednesday, Li also met with Malaysian King Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, and together with Anwar attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the East Coast Rail Link Gombak Integrated Terminal Station.

Speaking at the ceremony, Li said that the East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia is a flagship project of high-quality cooperation between the two countries on the building of the Belt and Road.

China is ready to work hand in hand with Malaysia to make the rail link a road to wealth and happiness that truly benefits local people, he said.

Spanning 665 kilometers, the railway project will connect the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang along the east coast with the Klang Valley on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It aims to enhance transportation connectivity, facilitate economic development, and promote trade and tourism in the east coast region.

China Communications Construction Co participated in the construction of the project, which is expected to be completed at the end of 2026 and become operational in January 2027.

Li said that China is also willing to actively explore connecting the East Coast Rail Link with the China-Laos Railway and the China-Thailand Railway to better promote the construction of new international land and maritime trade routes, thereby enhancing regional connectivity.

On Wednesday evening, Li and Anwar jointly attended a reception in celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Li called for taking the anniversary as an opportunity to carry on the traditional friendship, and strengthen synergies in development strategies to expand shared interests and promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, in order to walk hand in hand on the path toward modernization.

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