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China ready to collaborate, expand cooperation with M'sia in various fields, says envoy Ouyang yujiing

KUALA LUMPUR: China is ready to collaborate with Malaysia in expanding cooperation in various fields including economy, trade, culture, tourism, education, and science and technology, says Ouyang Yujing.

The China ambassador to Malaysia said a deepened connection would enhance friendship between the peoples of the two countires, introducing new dimensions and energy into their relations as Malaysia and China celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations on May 31.

"Looking ahead, we should focus on consolidating our enduring friendship, supporting each other's core interests, addressing major concerns and fostering stability and long-term growth in China-Malaysia relations.

"We must further align development strategies, deepen high-quality cooperation, harmonise Chinese modernisation with the Malaysia Madani vision and bring mutual benefits to both nations.

"We should embrace Asian civilisation and advocate Asean centrality, resist Cold War mentalities and camp-based confrontation, and build a shared future together," he said on Monday (May 20) night.

Ouyang was addressing guests at the China Entrepreneurs Association in Malaysia's (PUCM) 9th anniversary and Malaysia-China 50th anniversary celebration dinner here.

Also present were Deputy Communications Minister Teo Nie Ching, PUCM president Datuk Keith Li and leaders from various Chinese entrepreneurial groups in Malaysia.

Following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's visit to China last March and his meeting with China President Xi Jinping, Ouyang said Xi spoke highly of Anwar's Malaysia Madani vision.

"It emphasised the strong spiritual resonance between the two leaders that bolsters China-Malaysia relations."

He said China remains committed to advancing towards modern socialism, while Malaysia looks towards new development under the unity government's leadership.

"We should work hard and strive forward from this new starting point, remaining determined in our efforts.

"Let's continue the legacy of China-Malaysia friendship and embark on a shared future."

Ouyang also lauded PUCM for its significant effort and contributions to fostering China-Malaysia relations since its founding nine years ago.

"PUCM has evolved into a vibrant and practical Chinese chamber of commerce in Malaysia, actively fostering cooperation between China and Malaysia.

"The trilingual media platform, 'Malaysia-China Insight' stands out for its unique contributions.

"Moving forward, I hope PUCM continues to communicate Chinese narratives effectively... and further nurtures the positive and steady growth of China-Malaysia relations," he added.

Malaysia officially established diplomatic relations with China on May 31, 1974, becoming the first Asean country to befriend Beijing.

The enduring partnership has seen China stand as Malaysia's largest trading partner for the past 15 years.

Teo, in her speech, said that Malaysia places immense importance on its international relationships, viewing them as pivotal to the nation's development and prosperity.

Compared with 1974, she said the current bilateral trade volume has surpassed US$190bil (RM890.2bil), a 950-fold increase since then.

"I believe the increase in bilateral trade volume is driven by comprehensive, pragmatic cooperation and the mutual visa exemption policy, which has resulted in an average monthly increase of over 250,000 Chinese tourists to Malaysia.

"In fact, with 5.8 million tourists in the first quarter of 2024, we have witnessed a remarkable growth of 32.5% compared to the 4.3 million tourists during the same period last year."

Teo also highlighted that Malaysia's economy that achieved a GDP growth of 4.2% in the first quarter of 2024, exceeding forecasts.

"With this strong momentum, the Malaysian government is optimistic, projecting a full-year growth between 4 and 5%," she said.

Li, in his speech, said that a wealth of opportunities awaits both nations for closer collaboration amid the Golden Jubilee celebration.

"The foundation of upgrading bilateral relations lies in comprehensive and practical cooperation across all sectors.

"The mutual visa-free entry policy has led to a significant rise in Chinese tourists visiting Malaysia, exceeding 270,000 arrivals monthly," he said.

Looking towards the future, Li, who has been in Malaysia for 26 years, was optimistic that the coming 50 years would present even greater prospects for collaboration and mutual prosperity.

"Together, Malaysia and China can continue to play pivotal roles in regional and global development, fostering peace, prosperity and stability.

"As we enjoy the fruits of our 50 years of diplomatic ties, let us unite in further strengthening and elevating our relationship to unprecedented heights," he said.