Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao Visits Malaysia

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived in Kuala Lumpur 27 April to begin his two-day official visit. During his visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will hold talk with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, respectively. In addition, Wen Jiabao will witness the signing of the agreement on mutual recognition of academic degrees and diplomas of higher education and the signing of agreement to expand and deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will also visit University Malaya and hold dialogue with university students. He will also make widespread contact with Malaysians from different sectors.
Region's Stability and Development
This is Wen Jiabao's second visit to Malaysia in his capacity as the Chinese prime minister. His visit highlights the fact that the Chinese Government has attached great importance in wanting to build bilateral relations with Malaysia. Moreover, Prime Minister Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin have also visited Beijing in June 2009 and in April 2011, respectively. They also met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during their respective visit to China. During these visits, both sides have, besides exchanged respective views on regional security, economic and trade relationship, our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have also specifically stressed on the need for Malaysia and China to strengthen governmental and private sector mutual exchanges and visits. This has allowed the bilateral ties between Malaysia and China to continually be sustained and expanded based on such a good foundation. Both Malaysia and China are important and influential countries in this region. As such, the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Malaysia is not only an important event in the history of Malaysia-China bilateral relationship; Wen's visit to Malaysia will have a positive impact on the region's stability and development.
Malaysia and China have established diplomatic ties for 37 years. 37 years ago, under the joint effort taken by the later former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Razak, former Chairman Mao Zedong, and former Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, Malaysia and China achieved the common goal in the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries and thus paved a new milestone to bridge the historical bilateral exchanges since Zheng He (an ancient Chinese official) sailed through the West Pacific and visited Malaysia. Overall, during the past 37 years, the various official and non-governmental bilateral exchanges between Malaysia and China can be described as growing along a steady and sustainable path. Although the political and societal system between Malaysia and China is different; and although the point of view and traditional value between the two countries may not necessarily be the same, but such differences do not prevent the two countries from developing mutually beneficial and friendly ties based on the basic principle of peaceful coexistence.
Bilateral Economic and Trade Cooperation
Malaysia was the first country in this region to appoint and send economic and trade officials to visit Beijing after 1989. This indicates that in the formulation of China policy, our Malaysian government has put national interest as top priority and has fully considered the situation in this region objectively. When Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the World Chinese Economic Forum held in Kuala Lumpur in November last year, he commented that the peaceful emergence of China has made China becoming the world most important economic power; China is also one of the most important investment targets in the world community. At that Chinese Economic Forum, Najib has specially mentioned and encouraged Chinese Malaysians to serve as the friendly bridge between Malaysia and China so that Malaysia can benefit from the huge and vast China market.
As a matter of fact, the economic and trade exchange between Malaysia and China is an important factor in the overall bilateral ties between the two countries. Earlier, during the 70's, the trade volume between Malaysia and China was only between $200 million and $300 million. It was very insignificant. However, since China carried out reform and opening up, the bilateral economic and trade ties between Malaysia and China have gradually accelerated. By the end of 1996, the bilateral trade volume between Malaysia and China has gone up beyond the $10 billion mark. In 2010, the bilateral trade volume has reached $74.2 billion. It was an increase of 43 percent as compared with 2009. With the implementation of ASEAN China Free Trade Agreement, more enterprises from China have come to invest in Malaysia. We can expect the bilateral trade volume between Malaysia and China to reach the $100 billion mark very soon. China has accumulated a lot of valuable experience through its own economic development. China's economic development experience can benefit Malaysia's modernization and industrialization process. Today, Malaysia is making effort to accelerate its national goal towards achieving an advanced industrial nation status. What Malaysia can learn from China's economic development experience can continue to increase beyond our expectation.
Overall, Malaysia's investment environment is also improving. The potential of Malaysia's economic development and the potential of Malaysia's trade market are strong and solid. Many intellectuals from China have already pointed out such a trade potential in Malaysia.
In fact, foreign investment in Malaysia coming from China has shown an uprising trend in recent years. With the visit of Wen Jiabao to Malaysia this time, Wen's visit should be able to further increase the confidence and interest of the Malaysian and Chinese business and industrial sectors to mutually invest in each other's country. The bilateral trade ties between Malaysia and China will also usher new prospects in further development.
Working Toward Common Interest
More and more economists now acknowledge that China's reform and opening up has not only allowed China to achieve great economic accomplishment, but that if China continues to grow in accordance with the current pace, China will eventually surpass the United States and become the world's largest economy. At present time, not only China's investment trend along the coastal south China area has continued to grow, the multi-level progressive all-round opening up patterns in China's inner mainland, northeast, northwest and southwest regions are also shaping up. Such development has created good investment opportunity for Malaysia's business and industrial sectors to invest in China. In today's global environment, the rise of regional economic groupings has resulted in the restructuring of global economic map.
The political situation in the Middle East and North Africa has remained restive and while the economic slowdown in Europe and in the United States has led to some political instability, yet on the other hand, Asian region's political stability and economic growth has continued to thrive forward. Under such a situation, the further advancement in Malaysia-China relationship is not only very necessary for both the countries but also for the Asian region. The common interest between Malaysia and China is far greater than their differences. Even if Malaysia and China have any dispute, such dispute can totally find a comprehensive solution to resolve through seeking friendly consultation with each other.
10 Years in 21st century
As Malaysia and China look toward the second Ten Years in the 21st century, we trust the frequency of communication and exchanges between Malaysia and China will definitely be intensified in all aspects. We wish every success of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia in opening up a new chapter in the promotion of economic cooperation between Malaysia and China and in the promotion of friendly exchanges between the people of both countries.

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