Friday, 4 October 2013

Malaysia grand welcome for China president

The King accompanies Xi after the welcoming ceremony at Parliament Square on Oct 3, 2012. Starpix by AZHAR MAHFOF 

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese president Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan were accorded a state welcome at Parliament Square on Friday at the start of their three-day state visit.

They were welcomed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, as well as Cabinet ministers.

Xi, on his first state visit here, received a 21-gun salute and inspected the royal guard-of-honour mounted by by 106 officers and men of the First Battalion Royal Malay Regiment led by Major Nur Fahmi Bassar.
The Regiment band played the Negaraku and the Chinese national anthem.

Xi and his wife were later introduced to ministers, and other VIPs, including Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Army Chief Datuk Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor.

Xi aims to bolster Sino-Malaysia relations 

 Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right) celebrating the arrival of Xi and his wife Peng (left) during a private dinner at Seri Perdana. — Bernama
Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (right) celebrating the arrival of Xi and his wife Peng (left) during a private dinner at Seri Perdana. — Bernama 

SEPANG: It is the aspiration of the people of China and Malaysia and in keeping with the times to deepen strategic cooperation between both countries, said China President Xi Jinping.

Xi said bolstering Sino-Malaysia relations would also be conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

“China and Malaysia are good neighbours, good friends and good partners.

“Since the establishment of our diplomatic ties 39 years ago, Sino-China bilateral relations have enjoyed the harvest of rich fruits and brought benefits to our people,” he said in his arrival statement.

Xi arrived here yesterday on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft with his wife Peng Liyuan, State Councillor overseeing foreign diplomacy Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and other delegates for a three-day state visit.

The president was greeted by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam upon arrival at 6.35pm.


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Xi’s first visit to Malaysia was at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’ad­zam Shah.

Xi described China and Malaysia as two important countries in the region, saying that both share extensive common interests.

“I hope my visit will help deepen our traditional friendship, upgrade the level of cooperation and make even more breakthroughs in our strategic cooperation,” he said.

According to the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese and Malaysian governments will sign several important agreements such as the cooperation mechanism for the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park.

Malaysia-China ties stronger than ever
Razak and his Malaysian delegation being given a rousing welcome upon arrival at the Beijing airport in 1974

KUALA LUMPUR: It has been 39 years since the late Tun Abdul Razak played a crucial role in establishing diplomatic ties with China.

And in all the years since, even after the former Prime Minister’s passing, the Chinese government has maintained a cordial relationship with his widow Tun Rahah Mohd Noah and her family.

Through its embassy here, China has invited Rahah to its functions and to the ambassadors’ official residence and even called on her – all in appreciation of her husband’s mammoth contributions in bringing the two countries closer.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Chai Xi said it had always been a custom for the Chinese to remember the good deeds done for them.

Chinese students perform dances and songs to receive visiting Malaysian delegates at the airport in Beijing in 1974. Among the many welcoming banners, some were written in Malay, like the one in this picture captured by former Nanyang Siang Pau editor-in-chief Chu chee Chuan. 
Chinese students performing a dance to welcome Malaysian delegates at the airport in Beijing in 1974.
“My predecessor gave me special instructions to send well-wishes and pay visits to Tun Rahah.

“I will tell my colleague the same thing when he takes over office from me,” he said.

Among the notable occasions he cited was when the Chinese government invited Rahah, and others in her family, to join her son Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his official visit to China in 2009.

During the former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Malaysia in 2011, Rahah attended a welcoming dinner for him.

“Najib is very touched by the friendly gestures of the Chinese government,” he said.

Tun Abdul Razak Hussein (wearing bush jacket) visiting a museum in China in 1974.Recopy pictures from Datuk Wong Seng Chow. 
Razak visiting a museum in China in 1974.
“He said that this was something which had not been done by other countries, except China,” Chai said.

Yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a dinner hosted by Najib and his family, including Rahah, at Seri Perdana for the president after his arrival for a three-day state visit here.

Xi will attend a state banquet at Istana Negara today, followed by bilateral talks, an MoU signing ceremony and a joint press conference with Najib.

Other programmes lined up for the president include attending a luncheon with Malaysian Chinese business leaders, giving a speech at the Malaysia-China Economic Cooperation Summit and meeting former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

RECOPY NEWSPAPER
A front page newspaper report in 1974 on Razak’s historic visit to China.
Chai said Najib had fostered close working and personal relationships with the previous Chinese leaders, especially Wen,

He said the people of both nations hoped to see Najib, Xi and their administrations continue this tradition.

On the significance of this visit, Chai said Najib and Xi would discuss the countries’ direction for the next five to 10 years.

“Both governments have agreed on a five-year blueprint on bilateral economic cooperation which we will sign during this visit,” he said.

All eyes on Xi's visit to KL
First to host: Najib witnessing Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin handing over the invitation to the opening of the Xiamen University overseas campus in Malaysia earlier this year to the university president Prof Zhu Chongshi (left).
First to host: Najib witnessing Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin handing over the invitation to the opening of the Xiamen University overseas campus in Malaysia earlier this year to the university president Prof Zhu Chongshi (left).

It’s a packed schedule for China’s President as the two countries explore the many opportunities available.

CHINA’S President Xi Jinping has a packed schedule today after touching down in Malaysia from Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.

In his first state visit to Malaysia – and South-East Asia – since he assumed the presidency in March this year, Xi will attend a state welcoming ceremony, meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and witness the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

His programme also includes giving a keynote address at the Malaysia-China Economic Summit, which is co-organised by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Malaysia-China Business Council and China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Tomorrow, Xi will depart for Bali, Indonesia, to attend the 21st economic leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum.

The People’s Daily, the official paper of the Chinese Communist Party, summed up in a recent news report that his trip will “deepen economic cooperation in Asia and make huge contribution to lasting peace and prosperous development in the Asia-Pacific region”.

For Malaysia, Xi’s visit will lead up to the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between both countries next year.
Both Malaysia and China have a lot to look forward to, as a result of the relations that have seen remarkable growth over the years.

For one, Malaysians are waiting eagerly to coo over the pair of cuddly giant pandas that will be loaned to us from China.

Enterprises in both countries are also looking forward to see the sister industrial parks in Kuantan, Pahang and Qinzhou, Guangxi, come to fruition.

According to statistics in 2012, Malaysia is China’s number one trading partner in Asean for the fifth year running, while China is Malaysia’s top trading partner for the fourth consecutive year.

Xinhua quoted Xi in an interview before his trip that Malaysia stands a chance to be the third Asian country to have its bilateral trade volume with China surpassing the US$100bil (RM322.7bil) mark, after Japan and Korea.

Malaysian businesses operating in China are optimistic that Xi’s visit will raise Malaysia’s profile in China.

Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China (Maycham) secretary general Will Fung said the Chinese enterprises would have their attention focused on the visit to sniff out potential business and investment opportunities available following the diplomatic contact.

Maycham, with its presence established in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, has approximately 550 corporate and individual members.

Fung explained that foreign investors had to refer to the Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries before setting up businesses in China.

The industries are divided into three categories, namely encouraged, restricted and prohibited.

“Local partners are needed for investment in industries in the restricted category, while foreign investment is not permitted altogether in industries that fall in the prohibited category.

“The catalogue is reviewed from time to time. The government sometimes loosens up and removes certain industries from the prohibited category,” he said.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to doing business in China,” observed Fung, “thanks to the massive market and high spending power”.

However, one main hindrance looms – bureaucracy.

“The time needed for a business licence application to be approved is too long in some parts of China.

“It is relatively fast to obtain the green light in first-tier cities, but in provinces where the local authorities are less familiar with foreign investment, it can sometimes take months, even if you follow the guidelines diligently,” Fung said.

He added that Maycham hoped to see the procedures standardised across the board to expedite the approval process.

Meanwhile, on the educational front, Malaysia will be the first country to host an overseas branch campus of a Chinese higher learning institution.

Najib announced in January that Xiamen University had been given the permission by the Chinese government to set up a campus abroad.

The branch in Salak Tinggi, Sepang, is expected to be operational in September 2015.

At the moment, the number of exchange students in both countries exceeded 15,000.

Malaysian Students Association in China said the students were proud to have the Chinese top leader visiting their home country in his maiden trip to South-East Asia.

“We believe that the relationship between the two countries will be taken to new heights, and hopefully it will also translate into more assistance and support for students studying in China.”

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. The Star

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