CGTN: Five decades on, China and Malaysia to accelerate building a community with a shared future

PR Newswire
Thursday, June 20, 2024 at 1:03am UTC

CGTN: Five decades on, China and Malaysia to accelerate building a community with a shared future

PR Newswire

BEIJING, June 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a mega rail project under the Belt and Road Initiative in Malaysia being built by the China Communications Construction Company, is in full swing. 

The project, 60 percent of which was completed in March, is expected to greatly enhance connectivity and bring more balanced growth to Malaysia by linking its less-developed region on the east coast to the economic heartland on the west coast upon completion.

China is willing to work with Malaysia to steadily advance the construction of major projects, such as the East Coast Rail Link and the "Two Countries, Twin Parks" project while expanding the scale of trade and investment and promoting cooperation, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said on Wednesday while meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Li is on an official visit to Malaysia from June 18 to 20.

China's model of partnership featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness is no doubt a refreshing alternative brought to the table of multilateral cooperation in Southeast Asia. The dividends accrued were translated into a tailwind upon which the BRI is riding to triumph in the region where Malaysia is one of the key beneficiaries, Ong Tee Keat, president of the BRI Caucus for Asia Pacific and former transport minister of Malaysia, wrote in an article published on Wednesday.

China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years, and Malaysia has long been China's second-largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar reached an important consensus on jointly building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future.

During Li's visit, China and Malaysia agreed to accelerate building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, maintain close high-level exchanges and deepen cooperation in various sectors. The two sides also agreed to promote the high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and conclude the negotiations for version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area as soon as possible.

Strengthening people-to-people bonds

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia and the "China-Malaysia Friendship Year." The past 50 years have seen China and Malaysia tightening people-to-people bonds.

In 2023, Malaysia received around 1.4 million Chinese tourists, making Chinese tourists one of the top six inbound tourist groups to the country. The recent visa-free travel waiver has significantly boosted people-to-people exchanges. "We are positive about reaching over 5 million tourists from China," said Tourism Malaysia Director-General Manoharan Periasamy in April.

During the visit, Li also called on the two sides to deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges in areas such as culture, tourism and education, as well as between the youths of the two nations and at the subnational level to further facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries.

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