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Malaysia-China ties will flourish further, says PM Najib

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak is confident the strong Malaysia-China relationship developed over the past 40 years would grow even closer in the future.

BEIJING: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak is confident the strong Malaysia-China relationship developed over the past 40 years would grow even closer in the future.

Speaking at the 40th anniversary to commemorate the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations on Saturday, he said good relations are easy when times are good, but true friendship was forged in difficult times.

Citing the historic event 40 years ago, Najib said his father and Malaysia’s second prime minister Abdul Razak set out on what he called a journey of goodwill to sow the seeds of mutual understanding and trust.

"That journey led him here, to Beijing, and to this very hall. It was here that he signed an agreement with Premier Zhou Enlai, formally establishing diplomatic ties between our countries. It was here that we began a new chapter in our relations.

"And it is here today that I feel not just the responsibility of the government, but the responsibility to my father to continue his legacy and ensure the deepening of Malaysia-China ties," he said.

Present at the event were Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and over 300 guests.

Despite the good times, challenges do occur like in all friendships, Najib said, citing the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing on March 8 with 50 Malaysian passengers and crew and 154 Chinese passengers on board.

"Malaysia was deeply saddened by the tragic disappearance of Flight MH370. Facing a mystery without precedent, we were grateful for the support of the Chinese government, which has spared no expense in the search effort. We will not rest until the plane is found,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li said the strong bond and progress enjoyed by Malaysia and China in their diplomatic ties in the last four decades shows that both nations can work together even closer for a better future.

He said the prospects look good for another fruitful 40 years of friendship that can generate greater maturity, mutual trust, stability and prosperity, as well as in foreign policy.

Najib also said it was not a surprise that Malaysia was the first Southeast Asian country to establish relations with China, despite some allies advising Abdul Razak against the decision.

Over the past four decades, both nations have developed and have grown closer together, he said, pointing out that the world's second largest economy is Malaysia’s largest trading partner while Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in ASEAN.

Both countries have formed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for prosperity and growth, and last year signed a Five Year Development Programme for Economic and Trade Cooperation.

Najib said perhaps, there is no better symbol of their friendship than the recent arrival from China of two giant pandas, who have become an instant hit with the Malaysian people.

He also said the joint communique that he signed with his Chinese counterpart further broadens and deepens cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit -- economic, tourism, financial services and cultural.

Both countries have also agreed to exchange more students, to work closely on disaster relief, and to preserve stability and security in the region.

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