BEIJING: China's One Belt One Road initiative is a game changer for the entire region, stretching to Europe and Africa, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday (May 13) when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Mr Najib is on a five-day working visit to China where he will also attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14 and 15.
One Belt One Road, initiated by Mr Xi, is an ambitious development plan to link Asia to Europe with an unbroken chain of modern infrastructure such as ports and railways, and in doing so, boost trade between countries.
On his part, the Chinese President said Malaysia is an early supporter of the initiative and has become one of the countries that benefited the most, Xinhua news agency reported.
Mr Xi told Mr Najib that China will push for more bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative.
Since the two leaders last met in November, Mr Najib said many initiatives that were agreed upon by both countries have been implemented or were about to be implemented.
"I agree with you (President Xi) that Malaysia and China are not only neighbours but are trusted friends," Mr Najib said.
He added that although bilateral relations between Malaysia and China was at the highest level, there was scope to deepen and enhance it further.
Mr Najib later met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before joining the Malaysian delegation at a bilateral meeting with the Chinese government and both witnessed the signing of three Memorandums of Understanding involving the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry.
Malaysia's transport ministry will work with China to develop infrastructure such as railways, ports and airports. Both countries will also cooperate on the mutual recognition of standards and information sharing as well as to encourage the utilisation of local supply chains and facilitate cross-border e-commerce.
China, for the next five years, is committed to import goods worth US$2 trillion (RM8.6 trillion), investing up to US$150 billion and offering 10,000 places for training and studies in China.
The agreement involving the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry was for the export of fresh pineapples to China.
Total trade between Malaysia and China grew by 20.3 per cent to US$29.33 billion, with imports worth US$12.9 billion and exports worth US$16.43 billion.