Premier Li Keqiang and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak meet youth representatives of the two countries at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday.[Photo/Xinhua]
The following is a speech delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations held in Beijing on Saturday.
H.E. Prime Minister Najib Razak and H.E. Rosmah Mansor,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Today is a landmark day in the friendly relations of China and Malaysia. On this occasion, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. My warm welcome goes to Prime Minister Najib Razak and other Malaysian friends, and my heartfelt thanks go to people from all walks of life who have committed themselves to China-Malaysia friendship for a long time.
On this same day four decades ago, Premier Zhou Enlai signed a Joint Communique with Prime Minister Najib Razak’s father, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, at the very place where we are now, the West Lobby of the Great Hall of the People. Malaysia became the first among ASEAN countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, which unveiled a new chapter in the history of China-Malaysia relations and a new era in China-ASEAN relations.
That happened at the height of the Cold War, with perplexing international situations and colliding ideologies between East and West. Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak was farsighted in making the ice-breaking visit to China. Leaders of the old generation in the two countries cleared away the obstructions, overcame the difficulties and chose a correct path with sagacious vision. That united the two friendly neighbors and made them the forerunner and model of regional friendly cooperation.
As the Chinese saying goes, “One should no longer have any doubts at the age of 40”. During the past 40 years, China-Malaysia relations have embarked on a track of comprehensive, stable and pragmatic development with vigorous vitality and strong dynamics. Mutual political trust continues to be deepened, and the bilateral trade volume has topped $100 billion.
People-to-people exchanges have exceeded 2.5 million for four consecutive years and about 15,000 overseas students study in the other country every year. Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak once said, “The Malaysia-China relationship is a small tree just having been cultivated, and it is our common task to ensure its healthy and strong growth.” We are happy to see that sapling has grown into a towering tree today.
Bilateral relations entered a new stage of development last October when the two sides agreed to promote relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Malaysia.
At this moment, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, Prime Minister Najib Razak is leading a trip of retrospect and friendship to China. In a few minutes, Prime Minister Najib Razak and I will sign the joint communique marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, reviewing the history of our relations and drawing up a plan on deepened exchanges at all levels and in all fields between our countries. I believe that, with joint efforts, the visit of Prime Minister Najib Razak will become a new landmark in China-Malaysia relations.
China-Malaysia relations have experienced storms and challenges and advanced toward maturity.
After the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, China worked closely with all the parties involved, and we have never given up the search, and paid high attention to the investigation and handling of the incident. China is willing to work hand in hand with Malaysia in the search for the missing flight, properly handle the aftermath of the incident and ensure that bilateral relations can withstand this test.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, the four decades of China-Malaysia relations have brought us many precious experiences and much inspiration, and laid a solid foundation for deepened bilateral cooperation in the future. China is willing to, together with Malaysia, incorporate bilateral cooperation with each other’s own development strategy, in order to allow China-Malaysia relations — which have entered the “age of no doubts” — to keep bearing fruit and benefiting both peoples.
• We will further enhance strategic mutual trust to reinforce the political foundation of bilateral ties. We will make it a priority in each other’s foreign policy to strengthen communication and coordination on major issues to achieve the long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.
• We will expand mutually beneficial cooperation to foster common interests in bilateral relations. Practical cooperation is the hallmark of China-Malaysia relations as well as their inexhaustible driving force. We will continue to push forward exchanges and cooperation in economics, investment, finance, education and law enforcement to enhance the level of practical cooperation in all fields.
• We will further expand cultural exchanges to draw closer the peoples in the two countries. We will encourage frequent exchanges between the two peoples to promote understanding and communication, cultivate traditional friendship to yield a more beautiful flower of China-Malaysia friendship.
• We will further strengthen regional cooperation to jointly create a better future for Asia. Malaysia is an important member of ASEAN as well as a pioneer in China-ASEAN relations. As Malaysia is poised to chair ASEAN next year, China is willing to work closely with ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, to carry out the political consensus of China-ASEAN relations and jointly build a community of shared destiny, interests and responsibility in Asia.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, looking back to the past, we feel gratified to see the development of China-Malaysia relations. Looking forward, we are full of confidence in the future of our bilateral ties.
China is willing to work with Malaysia to take our relations into the next four decades with a higher degree of maturity, stability, mutual benefits, trust and prosperous development.
Just before we attended this ceremony, Prime Minister Najib Razak and I met representatives of youth from both China and Malaysia, which showed that China-Malaysia relations and friendship are future-oriented. Hand-in-hand we step forward, and we will be able to create a better future for China-Malaysia relations!
Thank you all.