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​Keynote Speech by H.E. Li Qiang
Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
At the Reception Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment
Of Diplomatic Relations Between China and Malaysia
And the Year of China-Malaysia Friendship
2024-06-19 23:55

Kuala Lumpur, June 19, 2024

Your Honorable Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,

Good evening! It’s such a pleasure to join all of you tonight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations, and the Year of China-Malaysia Friendship. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to extend heartfelt greetings and best wishes to the people of Malaysia, and sincere appreciation to friends from across the society who have long been committed to the friendship between China and Malaysia.

As President Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Malaysia are neighbors with a millennium-old friendship, friends connected by heart, and partners for win-win cooperation. We the Chinese believe that “good neighbors wish each other well.” So when I see, during my visit, your beautiful country making rapid progress and your people living a life of happiness and prosperity, I am truly heartened.

Over the past 50 years of diplomatic ties, China and Malaysia have all along treated each other with kindness and sincerity, and remained good neighbors, good friends and good partners. As a Chinese saying goes, “towering trees have deep roots, rolling rivers have abundant sources.” The development of this relationship in the past five decades offers us many important experience and inspirations. They are our shared valuable assets.

The first is commitment to independence of strategies. Fifty years ago, Malaysia withstood the pressure of the Cold War and entered into diplomatic relations with China, taking the lead among ASEAN countries. Over the following half a century, China-Malaysia relations have braved the waves and grown stronger, undisturbed by wind and rain, and never interrupted by external forces. Our two countries have rendered each other firm support in exploring the development paths suited to our national conditions. Ours is a fine example of relations between the countries in the region.

The second is commitment to win-win cooperation. China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years. Fruits from Malaysia like durian and mangosteen are now quite trending among Chinese consumers. Through mutually beneficial cooperation, our two countries have both achieved growth and built ever closer economic ties, which have created strong impetus for our respective modernization drive.

The third is commitment to mutual support. “To share weal and woe” is a proverb widely used in both China and Malaysia. From the Asian financial crisis, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Wenchuan earthquake to the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Malaysia have stood together in times of adversity, come to each other’s assistance, and increased understanding and trust.

And the fourth is commitment to cultural affinity. Six hundred years ago, Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Malacca five times during his seven outbound voyages, sowing the seed of peace and friendship. The Confucian culture and the Islamic culture coexist in Malaysia, inspiring and enriching each other. People-to-people exchanges between our two countries are growing stronger, with China becoming one of Malaysia’s largest sources of tourists. We treat each other with sincerity, and this has brought us even closer.

To name 2024 the Year of China-Malaysia Friendship is of special significance. “Friendship” is a word that carries great weight, something especially precious today. In a world fraught with changes and turbulence, some countries and regions have been plunged into wars and chaos, and countless civilians displaced and rendered homeless. It’s sad to admit that this is a world that lacks peace and tranquility, but never disputes and conflicts; a world that lacks rationality and humility, but never arbitrary and brutal acts; a world that lacks empathy, but never egocentrism; and a world that lacks openness and cooperation, but never blockade and confrontation. There might be many reasons behind all these hostilities, all these bad feelings that could easily escalate into conflicts and even wars, but they can all boil down to two things: First, objective interests. If a country only has its own interests in mind and gives no regard to the development of others, especially when facing such a sluggish global economy, resources will be further strained, competition will be fiercer, and tussles and conflicts will increase. Second, subjective perception. Showing no respect for the differences between nations, cultures, and development paths, disregarding other’s core interests, and ignoring the bottom line of human conscience... Acts such as these will only aggravate the estrangement and conflicts in our society. What should be done then? I think two things are key here. First, in terms of interests, we should put more emphasis on mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, and completely discard the zero-sum game thinking and practices. Second, in terms of perception, we should try harder to stand in others’ shoes. This could be best described by the words of wisdom from ancient China: “Do not do to others what you don’t want others to do to you.” I believe our celebrations for the Year of China-Malaysia Friendship is not only designed to grow our bilateral relations, but also to champion the spirit of friendship through our actions, and to call on and rally more from across the world to join hands and cross over to a better, shared future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,

Be it in the past, present or future, friendship remains the defining feature of China-Malaysia relations. We have brought this relationship to a new starting point, and we share the aspiration to carry it forward to future generations. To this end, I wish to make four proposals.

First, enhance our traditional friendship and consolidate the foundation for bilateral relations. It is important to keep to the right direction in growing this bilateral relationship, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, build stronger political mutual trust, and pursue wide-ranging cooperation in the context of building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future.

Second, synergize our development strategies and expand shared interests. It is important to develop greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Madani Economy Framework, step up the trade in agricultural and other products, and tap the potential of cooperation in emerging areas such as green energy and advanced manufacturing, so as to deliver more benefits to our two peoples.

Third, deepen exchanges and mutual learning to cement the foundation for people-to-people affinity. It is important to jointly implement the Global Civilization Initiative, expand exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism, education, sports and other fields, and build a stronger bond between our peoples.

Fourth, strengthen solidarity and coordination to address global challenges together. China is ready to work with Malaysia to advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization, and jointly build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful, amicable and harmonious home in Asia.

Going forward, China will march ahead together with Malaysia toward modernization, champion friendship as the overarching theme in our bilateral relations, and write a new chapter of a shared future. May China-Malaysia friendship last forever!

Thank you.

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