Interview of H.E. Ambassador Ouyang Yujing with BERNAMA (Transcript)
2021/03/16

 

10 March - Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia OuyangYujing gave written and TV interview to the Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA) . Here is the full transcript of the interview.

 

1. Recently, China’s National People's Congress(NPC)and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are being in session these days. Could you give us a brief introduction to the “two sessions” ? How will the “Two Sessions” affect China?

These days, China's national “Two Sessions” are going on in Beijing. The annual “Two Sessions” are a major event in China's political life, which attracts much attention from both at home and abroad.

This year's “Two Sessions” are held against a special historical background. Internationally, the world is marked by changes unseen in a century. The new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is gathering momentum. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the world. The international environment becomes more complex, with growing instability and uncertainty in many aspects. Domestically, this year is of great significance to China.We will celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), fulfill the task of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and embark on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country. Overall, we will enter a new stage of development.

In this context, this year’s “Two Sessions” will review and pass the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development, the Long-Range Objectives Through Year 2035 and the Government Work Report of 2020, which will map out the specific plans and point the direction for China's economic and social development in 2021 and beyond.

We will fully and faithfully implement the decisions and policies made during this year’s “Two Sessions”, doing our best to solve the contradictions between the unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, while speeding up to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. We will promote the high-quality development mode during the 14th Five-Year Plan period and ensure that we’ll make a good start in building a modern socialist country in all respects.

China will continue to follow the foreign policy of independence and peace, uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, constantly upgrade the level of opening up and cooperation, promote world economic recovery through its own development, share more development dividends and achieve win-win cooperation with Malaysia and the rest of the world.

 

2. Since the beginning of 2020, China has adopted strict anti-pandemic measures, successfully contained the spread of the COVID-19 within China and effectively controlled several local outbreaks. These actions have made China the first major economy in the world to achieve positive economic growth during the pandemic period. Can you introduce China’s achievements in the past year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought huge challenges to people around the world including China. Be confronted with the devastating COVID-19 since the beginning of last year, China has taken the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough measures to curb it. With great courage and determination, China has finally made a success.

With continuous pandemic prevention and control becoming a new normal, China was among the first group of countries to resume normal work and production after the pandemic strike, implementing a series of favorable policies in fiscal, taxation, financial and other fields to revive the economy. With arduous efforts and hard work, China has become the only major economy in the world to have achieved positive growth in 2020 whose GDP topped 100 trillion yuan. All this has shown that China has entered a new stage of development in history.

On 25th February, President Xi Jinping announced that China has secured a complete victory in its overall national campaign against poverty. With the help of central and local governments, 98.99 million rural people have worked their way successfully above the poverty line. All 832 poverty-striken counties have been removed from the poverty name list. China has accomplished the arduous task of eliminating absolute poverty nationwide, which is another miracle in China’s history.

In my opinion, there are three“magic keys” to realize these achievements:

First, we have made a full use of the institutional advantage of mobilizing all resources to accomplish major tasks. Over the past one year, under the direct leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has waged an all-out people’s war against the pandemic. At the early stage of the outbreak, China urgently dispatched more than 330 medical teams and over 40,000 medical workers to assist Wuhan, which testified to one Chinese saying that “when trouble occurs at one spot, help comes from all quarters”. Within 12 days, China has successfully constructed two COVID-19 specialized hospitals, which is a clear demonstration and interpretation of “China Speed” and “China Spirit”. These facts speak for themselves the truth that the CPC leadership and socialism with Chinese characteristics are the fundamental guarantees for Chinese people’s success in resist risks and overcoming difficulties.

Second, we remain committed to a people-centered philosophy of development. As an old saying goes, the interests of people should be taken above those of the country. The CPC and the Chinese government always take the lives and welfare of its people as the utmost priority. When the pandemic broke out in China, Chinese government took all measures possible including locking down Wuhan and providing free medical treatment to save lives and prevent people from getting infected regardless of the costs, strictly adhering to the principle of “putting people and life first, placing people’s well-being front and center”, . As the saying goes,“If people are alive, we can get back what we have lost; otherwise, we will lose all we have”.

Third, we keep on following the development path in line with our unique national conditions.Throughout the past 72 years since PRC’s founding, China has achieved rapid economic growth and maintaining steady social stability, which is regarded as a miracle by many countries in the world and is rarely seen elsewhere in the world. The Chinese people have made three historic leaps, from “stand on their feet” to “become prosperous”, from “become prosperous” to “become strong”. The fundamental reason is that we have found the right path of development, which is socialism with Chinese characteristics, We will press ahead along this path with consistency and determination. China’s development path conforms with its own national conditions and the requirements of the times. Our development relies on self-reliance and hard work. We are developing through the interaction with the entire world, and have made due “China Contribution” to world peace and development.

 

3. You are China’s 16th Ambassador to Malaysia at this crucial juncture when Malaysia and the rest of the world are recovering from the pandemic. How would you describe the current China-Malaysia relations? What are the three wishes that you most want to realize during your tenure as Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia?

China and Malaysia are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. The two countries enjoy profound mutual political trust, close beneficial cooperation, as well as deep understanding and affinity between our two peoples. Our cooperation on Belt and Road initiative has yielded rich fruits. Against the current complex international landscape, especially in co-combating this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, China and Malaysia supported each other through thick and thin, which has further promoted our traditional friendship, and demonstrated strong resilience and vigour of our bilateral cooperation. We are proud to say that China-Malaysia relations have stood the test of time and will continue to prosper.

It is both an honored mission and a great duty for me to be the 16th Ambassador of China to Malaysia. If I have to express three wishes in my tenure, I would say the first one is China and Malaysia could work together to defeat the COVID-19 at an early date. This is also our top priority at the current time. The pandemic has brought enormous impact on the economy, the society, and people’s livelihoods. For more than one year, China and Malaysia have cooperated with each other to address the challenges on combating the pandemic and revitalizing the economy.

A few days ago, the first batch of Sinovac vaccine arrived in Malaysia. Several ministers of the Malaysian government and I attended the hand-over ceremony. It was an important progress of the two countries’ comprehensive cooperation in vaccine procurement, research & development, and production. I believe these joint efforts will make significant contribution to the pandemic prevention and control in Malaysia. I hope our two countries will get out of the dire pandemic at an early stage, and get our economy, society, and lives back on track. I also hope our peoples can have face-to-face exchanges as soon as possible.

My second wish is that the friendship between China and Malaysia will be even more consolidated and deepened, and the hearts of our peoples will get even closer. Our long-lasting friendly cooperation benefits from not only our leaders’ guidance, but also our peoples’ active support and wide participation. The relationship between China and Malaysia has a solid foundation of public support by peoples of the two nations . I wish to further promote communications between China and Malaysia on all levels and in all areas, including governments, parliaments, political parties, academics, media and young people. So that more Chinese stories will be heard, more Chinese wonderful things will be seen, more people and resources will be driven into the cause of China-Malaysia friendship building and strengthening. This will make our well-tested friendship become even stronger and our bilateral ties even closer.

My third wish is that the cooperation potential of our two countries will be further explored, and we can make better and faster developments. There has been a lot of impressive bests in China-Malaysia cooperation. For instance, China has been the largest trading partner of Malaysia for twelve consecutive years, and the largest FDI source in manufacture sector for five consecutive years. Xiamen University Malaysia is the first overseas campus set up by the renowned Chinese university. All these facts again show the solid foundation, significant advantage and huge potential of our cooperation. I hope China and Malaysia will create more new highlights in the bilateral cooperation in the post-pandemic era, which will give new impetus to the developments of both countries.

 

4. In your opinion, how can China and Malaysia further strengthen the bilateral relations as both countries head into the post COVID-19 era? What are the new areas that China would like to explore with Malaysia?

China and Malaysia should get prepared for the pandemic situation, and work collaboratively on innovating ways and means, actively promoting exchanges and cooperation in the post-epidemic era, while enhancing economic recovery and social development of both sides at the same time, so that we can turn the challenge of the pandemic into an opportunity for development,and elevate China-Malaysia relations to a new level.

China and Malaysia can make good use of the existing mechanisms such as the China-Malaysia Strategic Consultation Mechanism, the Joint Economic and Trade Committee as well as the ongoing High-level Committee on Post-epidemic Cooperation led by both foreign ministers, to further enhance the strategic alignment and cooperation planning. On the basis of continuing to advance traditional cooperation in trade, investment and tourism, the two sides may also focus on the following areas of cooperation:

Firstly, we should strengthen cooperation on inter-connectivity and production capacity. Projects under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative already have a good beginning. China is speeding up to foster a new development pattern with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, and further opening-up to an even higher level. As for regional free trade agreements, both China and Malaysia have joined together with other countries in signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. We need to seize these opportunities to advance our cooperation on the major projects including “Two Countries, Twin Parks” and East Coast Rail Line (ECRL), work together to push forward infrastructure development, and take an active part in building the the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. Our co-efforts will play a leading role of the major projects in boosting the economy and improving people’s livelihood, and therefore make our two countries get ahead in the post-pandemic world economic recovery.

Secondly, we should foster new growth points on digital economy cooperation. The pandemic has underlined the value of digital economy. I noted that H.E. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has recently launched the ambitious MyDIGITAL Blueprint. China is leading the world digital economy and has accumulated rich experience in this area. China has both world-renowned technology enterprises such as Huawei, Alibaba, Tencent, and a large number of unicorn companies. China and Malaysia can explore further cooperation areas in 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), smart city, block-chain and other digital economies, so as to optimize and upgrade our industries, promote employment rate and entrepreneurship, adding new momentum to our development.

Thirdly, we can take the epidemic as an opportunity to strengthen the medium-and -long-term cooperation in the public health sector. The pandemic has raised the awareness of countries around the world for working together in response to non-traditional security threats such as infectious diseases. During the process of combating the pandemic, China and Malaysia have shared with each other their experience in pandemic control and patient treatment. Our cooperation in vaccine research&development and production and other areas goes well. Last November, the governments of both countries signed an agreement on vaccine development and accessibility cooperation. China is willing to continue enhancing cooperation with Malaysia in medical treatment, vaccine development and other areas, working together to build a community of common health.

 

5. In mid April 2020, the Chinese government sent a team of medical experts to Malaysia to share their experience on fighting the pandemic. Any further cooperation between both countries following the visit? What assistance has China provided to Malaysia in fighting the pandemic?

Last April, at the critical juncture of Malaysia’s pandemic containment, the government of China sent an anti-pandemic medical expert team to assist Malaysia. The expert team visited 13 designated hospitals and relevant medical and research institutes in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Sarawak and Sabah on a tight 15-day schedule. During their visit, they attended 34 events, conducted extensive and in-depth interactions with Malaysia’s government officials, public health experts, medical professionals and researchers. They shared with the Malaysia side China’s experience and advice on pandemic prevention and control, vaccine research and development, the use of traditional Chinese medicine and etc. The visit of China’s medical expert team to Malaysia is an epitome and manifestation of the mutual assistance between the two governments and peoples during their co-fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Confronted with the sudden outbreak, China and Malaysia worked hand in hand in combating the pandemic. First, we shared experiences with each other. Apart from sending a medical expert team, the two countries maintained close communication and coordination through both bilateral exchanges and multilateral frameworks including WHO, ASEAN-China (10+1), ASEAN-China-Japan-Korea (10+3) and so on, conducting exchanges on pandemic control, treatment measures and related experiences.

Second, we provided each other with medical supplies. At the early stage of the outbreak, Malaysia’s government, corporations, community organizations and other parties extended help to China through different channels and with different means. When the pandemic intensified in Malaysia, the Chinese government of all levels, together with enterprises and individuals responded in kind. They took immediate actions to donate many batches of urgently needed medical supplies, including PPES, testing reagents and respirators to Malaysia and its people.

Third, we encouraged each other all the time. The peoples from both countries gave support to each other by sending cheer-up videos, paintings, songs, texts and other forms of encouragement and assistance, injecting warmth and positive energy to China-Malaysia’s co-efforts of combating the pandemic.

If the China-Malaysia joint efforts of fighting the epidemic are the first half of our anti-pandemic cooperation, the vaccine cooperation will be the other half. At present, vaccine cooperation has become the focus of China-Malaysia anti-pandemic cooperation. Last October, when China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Malaysia, he proposed that Malaysia would be given priority to have China’s vaccine. During that visit, important consensus has been achieved on vaccine cooperation for both sides.

In January, under the coordination of Chinese government and the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, China’s Sinovac signed a supply agreement of 14 million doses of vaccine with Malaysia’s Pharmaniaga . As I've mentioned before, the first 300 thousand doses of Sinovac vaccine have already arrived in Malaysia on February 27. China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. will provide 3.5 million doses of vaccine to Duopharma Biotech Bhd. The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd and other organizations are working together with the Malaysian side to conduct phase Ⅲ vaccine clinical trials in Malaysia. The phase Ⅲ clinical trials are going smoothly now. As soon as the clinical trials are completed, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co. Ltd will provide the Malaysian side with no less than 10 million doses of vaccine per year within five years. I believe Chinese vaccine would contribute to Malaysia’s National Immunization Program, and play an active role in helping the Malaysian people to come back to normal life at an early date.

 

6. The exchanges and cooperation between China and Malaysia in social, cultural and other fields are inevitably affected by the pandemic. How do you think the two countries should cope with the situation?

People-to-people friendship holds the key to state-to-state relations, and heart-to-heart communication contributes to deeper friendship.Let me present you some statistics. Malaysia is the second largest country getting Chinese visa, and China is the third largest source of foreign tourists to Malaysia, after Singapore and Indonesia. Therefore, China is also the largest source of foreign tourists to Malaysia besides ASEAN countries. These statistics show that people-to-people exchanges between China and Malaysia have always been exuberant. In 2019 when both sides held a variety of activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It brought the bilateral friendship to a new height .Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed some hindrance to people-to-people exchanges between China and Malaysia.

In the face of the new normal of pandemic prevention and control, we have actively explored new approaches, continued to maintain the enthusiasm and wide scope of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. During the recent Chinese New Year festival, the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, together with the culture and tourism ministries of both countries and Malaysia’s local organizations, have successfully held a series of celebrations, which included the Online Reception Celebrating the 2021 Chinese New Year & Marking Assumption of Office of the Ambassador, an online cultural performance that showcases the Malaysian-Chinese culture, and an online Gala performance celebrating “Happy Chinese New Year”. During the Spring Festival, many Malaysian TV stations and media websites have broadcasted Chinese Lunar New Year cultural programs recommended by our embassy, all of which were well-received by the audience.

In the coming days, we will continue to work together with Malaysia’s government and friends from all walks of life, to jointly hold more activities of various forms and diverse topics. The pandemic has affected our face-to-face social and cultural exchanges, but it can never prevent us from connecting with each other and developing our deep friendship. I believe, there will be more and more people-to-people exchanges between China and Malaysia with the days to come, and the friendship between the two peoples will be further enhanced.

 

7. What is your outlook for China-Malaysia bilateral trade relations of 2021? How shall both sides work together to keep the momentum going in the context of the pandemic? Could you share with me the statistic data of China-Malaysia bilateral trade volume in recent years?

In recent years, the trade volume between China and Malaysia has grown steadily, the trade structure has been further optimized and the complementarity further enhanced. China continues to be Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the 12th consecutive year, and Malaysia is China’s 9th largest trading partner globally and China’s 2nd largest trading partner in ASEAN. According to Chinese statistics, the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia hit 131.16 billion dollars in 2020, increased by 5.7% year-on-year (Among which, China’s export to Malaysia hit 56.43 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 8.2%. Malaysia’s export to China hit 74.73 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 3.9%).These achievements have been made in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which are indeed remarkable, and have manifested the vitality and resilience of China and Malaysia’s economy and trade relationship.

In a time of unprecedented global changes and a once-in-a-Century pandemic, the uncertainties facing global development are increasing, which poses challenges to China-Malaysia economic and trade cooperation. However, there always exist opportunities in time of crisis. China and Malaysia are forging ahead on the right track of development.

As I’ve mentioned before, this year marks the start of China’s “14th Five Year Plan”. Now China is fostering a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. China will further unleash market potentials, expand and deepen opening-up, and share more development dividends with the rest of the world including Malaysia.

During the pandemic, Malaysia kept following up various economic support systems and injected funds into market to safeguard its economy. Meanwhile, Malaysia is working on the 12th Five-year Plan, which charts the direction of economic recovery and national revitalization. China and Malaysia are natural partners whose development needs are highly compatible. I believe, with China and Malaysia working jointly in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, the mutual benefit and pragmatic cooperation between us will usher in new progress.

I hope that both sides can accelerate the progress of Belt and Road cooperation, continue to promote “Two Countries, Twin Parks”, East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and other flagship projects, and constantly unleash new growth drivers. I also hope both sides can actively explore cooperation areas in e-commerce, Internet economy, digital economy and other new forms of business, creating new growth points for China-Malaysia cooperation in the post-epidemic era, thus pushing our economic and trade relationship to a new level.

 

8. What’s your message to Chinese enterprises who have invested in Malaysia?

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the Chinese enterprises in Malaysia, for their contributions to Malaysia’s fight against the COVID-19. Last year, at the early stage of the pandemic, Malaysia was short of medical supplies. Many Chinese companies made great efforts to collect and generously donate to Malaysia a large number of medical supplies through various channels. Just take one example, the Chinese companies in Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) alone have donated more than 3 million surgical masks and 300 boxes of disinfectant to Malaysia. This example clearly shows the deep friendship and concern between China and Malaysia through thick and thin, and at the same time demonstrates Chinese companies’ strong sense of social commitment to Malaysia and its people whom they have closely bonded with.

Secondly, I’m very glad to see that Chinese companies in Malaysia are playing an active role in Malaysia’s economic recovery and development. Most of the Chinese manufacturing companies in Malaysia base production here while export products to overseas markets, without giving negative pressure to Malaysian companies of the same kind. They have created many job opportunities to local Malaysians and add to large amount of foreign reserve to Malaysia.

Take Alliance Steel as an example. It has invested and built a steel plant in Pahang, with an employment of more than 2,000 local workers. It exports over 2.4 million tonnes of quality steel every year, adding an export value of 1.3 billion US dollars to Malaysia, tripling the overall throughput of Kuantan Port and becoming an important growth engine for the local economy.

Last but not least, I look forward to seeing more Chinese companies investing in Malaysia. In 2020, China remains Malaysia's largest foreign investor in the manufacturing sector for the 5th consecutive year. This trend has not been disrupted by the pandemic, which shows that Chinese investors have great confidence in Malaysia’s economic potential and outlook. In the post-pandemic era, the global economy will undergo profound changes. As an important hub of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Malaysia enjoys a favorable geographical location and a sound business environment. It is an ideal destination for investment. I believe Chinese enterprises will continue to make great achievements here.

 

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