China's Wang Yi expresses confidence in Mahathir-led government

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in Putrajaya yesterday. Mr Wang said China attaches high importance to its relations with Malaysia.
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in Putrajaya yesterday. Mr Wang said China attaches high importance to its relations with Malaysia.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed confidence in the Malaysian government led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, saying that the country will stay united and prosper under the new administration.

"As Malaysia's good friend, China is happy to see these achievements that Malaysia has made and we have confidence that under Dr Mahathir's leadership, Malaysians will stay united and will achieve new glories," said State Councillor Wang at a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in Putrajaya last night.

Mr Wang is on a two-day official visit to Malaysia and will call on Tun Dr Mahathir today.

"China attaches high importance to its relations with Malaysia," said Mr Wang. "The reason... is that Malaysia and China are developing countries - we both follow independent policy, we both believe in Asian values, and we both oppose all forms of power politics... In other words, common interests."

Since winning the May general election, Malaysia's Pakatan Harapan government has reviewed nearly RM100 billion (S$33.5 billion) worth of infrastructure contracts awarded to Chinese state firms by the previous administration, in a bid to tackle government debt of over RM1 trillion. Despite these stalled projects, Kuala Lumpur remains open to economic cooperation with Beijing.

"I assured His Excellency that Malaysia welcomes China's participation in our economic development, as long as it is aligned with Malaysia's national interests and is carried out based on principles of equality and mutual respect," said Datuk Saifuddin.

He said he discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, education, tourism, agriculture and security at the meeting with Mr Wang.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'China's Wang Yi expresses confidence in Mahathir-led government'. Print Edition | Subscribe