Scrolling forward to better Sino-Malaysia ties

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi shaking hands after the presentation of a calligraphy scroll to the Malaysian leader yesterday. Also present at the event were Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (right
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and China's State Councillor Yang Jiechi shaking hands after the presentation of a calligraphy scroll to the Malaysian leader yesterday. Also present at the event were Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (right) and China's Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang (left).PHOTO: BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA • China State Councillor Yang Jiechi presented a special calligraphy souvenir to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak during a visit to his office yesterday.

The calligraphy scroll was inscribed with a quote from a speech of former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Datuk Seri Najib's father, when he visited China in 1974 to establish bilateral ties.

It says: "The shoots of the Sino-Malaysia friendship will grow into a towering tree."

Mr Yang and his delegation also met Foreign Minister Anifah Aman. The Malaysian minister told reporters after the meeting that he raised the issue of the recent encroachment of Chinese fishermen into Malaysian waters off Sarawak, Bernama news agency reported.

"We raised our concern and he said he will look into it. We believe that between friends we should be able to find solutions. We are not exactly neighbours but we share the same South China Sea," Datuk Seri Anifah said.

He said Malaysia also faced the problem of Indonesian fishermen encroaching into its waters due to the overlapping areas.

Malaysia and China yesterday agreed to settle issues related to the South China Sea through the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Mr Anifah said.

The DOC was signed in 2002 by Asean and China, and is the precursor to a long-delayed Code of Conduct (COC) which will set guidelines for parties involved in disputes to manage tensions and avoid conflict.

"What we (Malaysia and China) have promised is to settle all issues through the DOC and speed up the completion of the COC," Bernama reported Mr Anifah as saying.

He said that among the other issues discussed was the economy and ways to boost bilateral trade and investment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Scrolling forward to better Sino-Malaysia ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe