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China a true friend and strategic partner, says Najib

 | October 31, 2016

Prime Minister also vows to take relationship with China to greater heights.


KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak today hailed China as a “true friend and strategic partner” and said the relationship between the two nations augured well for Asia’s stability and harmony ahead of a high-powered delegation he is leading to Beijing today.

In an interview, China Daily Online also quoted the prime minister as saying he intends to ensure that ties with the republic continues to improve and reach new heights.

“It is a relationship I am personally committed to; not just as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, but also as the son of Tun Razak – our former prime minister who first established diplomatic relations with China 42 years ago,” the portal quoted him as saying.

Najib, who agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s comparison that China’s relations with Malaysia was akin to “being as close as lips are to teeth” said the two nations would be finalising “the first significant defence deal” during his trip.

It was previously reported that Malaysia will sign a contract to buy naval ships from China.

Najib will be in China, his third trip to the republic since becoming PM in 2009, from today until Nov 6.

The visit will see the two nations sign at least 10 government-to-government Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) on economy, tourism, construction, education and defence.

Najib went on to state that Malaysia welcomed significant investments from China in innovation and technology, citing telecommunications giant Huawei’s expanding presence in the country which he said symbolised the confidence leading Chinese companies had in Malaysia.

The PM’s praise for China came in the wake of news that China will build and fund the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a 620km high-impact project in Malaysia.

Last week the Dewan Rakyat approved Malaysia’s membership into the China-led international financial institution, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

State investment arm, 1Malaysia Development Berhad has meanwhile sold its 60 per cent stake in Bandar Malaysia – a major development project in Kuala Lumpur that will include a public transport hub – to Malaysian tycoon Lim Kang Hoo’s Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and its partner, state-run China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC).


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