China pledges to lift ties with Malaysia to new high

Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Beijing yesterday, saying China will work with Malaysia to push neighborly friendship to a new high.

Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Beijing yesterday, saying China will work with Malaysia to push neighborly friendship to a new high.

With new governments established in the two countries this year, the development of bilateral relations stands at a new starting point, Li added.

He said China will work with Malaysia to push forward the long-term healthy development of bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

China and Malaysia have strong economic complementarity and great potential for cooperation. China is willing to better integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with Malaysia’s development strategy, while promoting cooperation in economy, trade, investment, agriculture, fisheries and transportation infrastructure, the premier said.

He said China will import more high-quality Malaysian products to cater to the needs of domestic consumers, improve the level of trade facilitation, and encourage top companies from the two countries to expand two-way investment.

Li called on the two countries to provide a stable and sound business environment. “China is willing to explore new cooperation with Malaysia in fields such as science and technology innovation, automobile, finance and e-commerce.”

He also stressed the need to promote cultural exchanges.

As Malaysia is an important member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the development of China-Malaysia relations will not only benefit the two countries but also help deepen China-ASEAN relations and cooperation, said Li.

Against the background of rising unilateralism and protectionism, China is willing to work with ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, to advocate multilateralism and free trade, emphasize development as a priority, and promote the building of an economic community in East Asia, so as to contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity, Li said.

Mahathir said this was his first visit to China outside ASEAN since he assumed office as Malaysian prime minister for the second time but his eighth trip as the country’s leader.

He confirmed that the Malaysian government will continue to pursue its friendly policy toward China and looks forward to further consolidating bilateral relations through this visit, realizing mutual benefit and win-win results in economic and trade fields, and promoting the upgrading of mutual ties.

Malaysia actively supports the Belt and Road Initiative, which is conducive to promoting inter-connectivity and trade exchanges between countries and enhancing links between the East and the West, he said.

A healthy and stable Malaysia-China relationship will not only benefit Malaysia but also contribute to regional peace and prosperity, Mahathir added.

Li and Mahathir also attended the signing of bilateral agreements on economy, trade, agriculture, finance and technology.

Speaking at a press conference later, Li said they agreed that the two countries should be partners in trade and investment, industrial cooperation, and innovation and growth.

He said China will work with Malaysia to build a new pattern of pragmatic cooperation and open up a new space for cooperation in the fields of e-commerce, upgrading of traditional industries and technological innovation. 

The two sides are committed to promoting the construction of the East Asian Community, supporting ASEAN’s central position in regional cooperation, and jointly sending a positive signal to the region and the world of maintaining long-term friendship and safeguarding regional peace, stability and development, Li added.

Mahathir said Malaysia hopes to learn from China’s experience and enhance the level of e-commerce and innovation cooperation.

Also yesterday, the two sides released a joint statement, which said both countries underscored the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability, as well as safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

They emphasized the need for all sovereign states directly concerned to resolve their differences by peaceful means through friendly consultations and negotiations, and the need for all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and to avoid actions that would complicate or escalate tensions in the South China Sea. China and Malaysia, along with ASEAN member states, will work for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and encourage maritime cooperation, as well as actively push forward consultations on a Code of Conduct, the statement said.

Special Reports