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China-Malaysia Cooperation Sails Fast and Far with the wind of Belt and Road
----Chinese Ambassador H.E. Bai Tian publishes the signed article on Malaysian mainstream media
2019/04/23

Tomorrow, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir will depart for Beijing to attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Representatives from over 100 countries, including about 40 leaders of foreign governments, and thousands of representatives from all walks of life will gather in Beijing for this grand event. The Forum will prove to be a brand-new milestone for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We hope Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir's visit a huge success, bringing our bilateral ties and cooperation under the BRI to a new high.

It has been 6 years since President Xi Jinping put forth the BRI, promoting cooperation and development for all countries. The Initiative has made its far-reaching and profound impact on the world, and a total of 124 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. The trade volume of goods between China and countries joining the BRI has reached more than 6 trillion US dollars. China's direct foreign investment to those countries has exceeded 80 billion US dollars, creating more than 200 thousand local jobs. Through Belt and Road cooperation, some countries now have their first motorways or modern railways. Laos will be fully transformed from a landlocked country to a land bridge country upon the completion of China-Laos Railway in 2021. Belarus has developed its own car industry for the first time and is now the home to the largest industrial park in Eurasia. Since it was leased to a Chinese company, the Piraeus port in Greece has become one of the fastest growing container ports in the world, soaring to the 36th place in global container traffic ranking from the 93rd in 2010. The port has about 10 Chinese staff but employs 3,000 Greeks, and it has also created more than 10,000 indirect local jobs.

The list of BRI success stories can go on and on. These stories fully illustrate the fact that while the BRI initiative is launched by China, its benefits should be shared by the world. China put forth this Initiative with not only its own development, but development for all countries in mind. Guided by the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, the BRI is not exclusive but inclusive. It is not a solo by China but a symphony by all. It is not China's geopolitical tool but a cooperation platform for all countries to achieve common development. Belt and Road will be a belt of cooperation and a road of opportunities, and China will continue to work with all other parties to make the road broader, and the belt tighter.

The historical tie between Malaysia and BRI dates way back. Hundreds of years ago, Malaysia was an important stop on the ancient maritime silk road. The stories of General Cheng Ho's legendary voyages to the South China Sea and Malacca are widely known, and have thus shaped the positive perceptions of China in the minds of Malaysia people. Now, Malaysia is among the first countries to support the BRI, and is also one with the most early results. Under the BRI, cooperation between China and Malaysia in various fields expands. The bilateral trade volume has reached 100 billion USD, and China remains as the biggest trading partner for Malaysia for 10 consecutive years. The Chinese FDI in manufacturing sector in Malaysia has grown more than 4 times, from 0.92 billion USD in 2013 to 4.75 billion USD in 2018. By the end of 2018, the Chinese companies have invested in 422 projects in manufacturing sector, creating about 73 thousand jobs in Malaysia. The China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, often referred as "Two Countries Twin Parks", are growing rapidly. Projects such as Gemas-Johor Bahru Railway are advancing steadily. ECRL has just rebooted after friendly consultations and a re-route. CRRC has set its rolling stock plant in Perak, a plant with the highest technological level and largest production capacity among ASEAN countries. Proton is now on the verge of turning profits, just after a one-year cooperation with Geely.

The BRI not only bestows a strong momentum to the China-Malaysia cooperation, but also provides opportunities for ordinary families and people to realize their dreams. Vijay Kumar, one of the first local employees in CRRC Malaysia, has a crush on trains since he was a child. Being promoted from a worker all the way to a director, he has now fulfilled his childhood "train dream", watching the trains made by him and his colleagues running on his homeland. Mr. Ivan, who used to be a part-time employee in a small diner, is now a maintenance director in the Chinese-invested company D&Y Textile, with a higher income and his own career. Surveys show that Chinese companies in Malaysia have provide training opportunities for around 19 thousand employees over the past few years. Among them we see engineers, skilled workers, and even management staffs, and they all have improved enormously and found new opportunities through the training programs. These training programs will continue and expand, allowing more and more Malaysia people to write their own success stories.

These tangible results and achievements have earned the BRI adamant supports from Malaysian government and people, encouraging more and more people to devote themselves to China–Malaysia cooperation under the framework of BRI. I'm glad to see that the Pakatan Harapan government has openly voiced, for many times since last May, its support to the BRI. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir praised the BRI as a valuable opportunity to connect the East and the West, and to promote the common development and prosperity in the region. The fact that, after 8 months, this 94-year-old senior statesman decided to visit to China again since last August has further shown the political decision and strong willingness from Malaysia to contribute in BRI cooperation have high hopes for Tun Dr. Mahathir's attendance to the Belt and Road Forum. I hope his honorable, along with other political figures, provides his political wisdom and visions, pushing for a BRI of higher quality, higher standard and higher level. I hope he could exchange ideas in depth with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on China-Malaysia relations, drawing a brilliant blueprint for our future bilateral cooperation.

There's a classical Chinese poem that reads: the rising tides have broadened the water, and a boat should raise the sail and catch the wind. Now, the Malaysian government is committed to achieving economic transformation, propelling "Industry 4.0" revolution, and striving for rapid economic growth. In this regard, the high-quality production capacity, abundant funds, advanced technology and experiences from China could just be the wind that Malaysia may need during its sailing. Hence, we welcome Malaysia's participation in the BRI cooperation in a deeper, more comprehensive manner, to fully utilize the unique geographical and resource advantage of Malaysia, and to achieve better and faster development through this cooperation. I also believe that the BRI will blow a favorable wind, to make the 45-year China-Malaysia relation set sail for a better future featuring stability, mutual trust and prosperity.

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