KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) -- Bilateral ties between Malaysia and China are now at their best ever period and level, and are poised to be even stronger in the years to come, said China's Ambassador to Malaysia, Chai Xi.
The envoy said that he had witnessed the relationship between both countries strengthen since being posted here in July 2009 and this was evident from the various high level exchanges and cooperation, especially after the November 2009 visit by President Hu Jintao to Malaysia.
During that visit, the top leaders from both countries agreed on a joint action plan to enhance strategic cooperation, he said.
Chai said that significant event had marked a new beginning of the more than three decades of friendship, which he was optimistic would continue to grow from year to year
"I would say that we have come to the best period of our relationship especially in recent years.
After these high level exchanges, our relationship has come to an new era," he said in an interview with Bernama, here.
He said recent events and various high level exchanges were testimony of the mutually close friendship and political confidence that the leaders of both countries had for each other.
Malaysia's bilateral ties with China chalked up another milestone recently when the latter agreed to lend a pair of giant pandas to Malaysia as a gesture of their prospering relationship.
The agreement between China Wildlife Conservation Association and Malaysia's Wildlife and National Parks Department was signed in Putrajaya, last Friday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had made the request personally to Wen during his visit to Nanning, China last April.
Chai said the request was immediately agreed upon by Wen, proving that both countries were enjoying a special relationship.
"This is quite unique. To send a panda to a foreign country is really not something very easy, but this time, both leaders, had made a very difficult thing in an easy way. I really hope that our friends in Malaysia will be happy to see the pandas," he said.
To date, China has only loaned 23 of its most famous national symbol to nine countries.
Apart from the pandas, Malaysia and China also agreed to jointly develop the 55sq km Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP) in the coastal area of Guangxi Province and the establishment of a Malaysia-China Industrial Park in Kuantan, Pahang.
Among the industries that have been identified for development at QIP are a palm oil refinery, auto spare parts manufacturing and information and technology-related fields.
Under the partnership, Malaysian entrepreneurs operating from the QIP can expect to enjoy good incentives and policy measures implemented by the Chinese authorities, Chai said.
China is Malaysia's top trading partner while Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in Asean. Total trade volume of between the two countries reached more than US$90 billion in 2011, up from US$52 billion the previous year.
"The trade volume is still growing. And personally, I think that, either this year or next year, the trade volume between China and Malaysia will reach the US$100 billion mark.
"This would mean that Malaysia will be the third country in Asia after Japan and Republic of Korea to become the biggest trading partners of China," he said.
Moving ahead, the Chinese envoy said there were huge potentials in other sectors that both countries could tap to further develop bilateral ties, especially in the energy, information and technology and the herbal industries.
"For instance in herbal medicine. Malaysia has vast forests that I believe is a treasure trove for herbal plants.
"In this aspect, I think we can work together to do research and develop herbal medicine, which is gaining popularity due to its benefits and that it has no side effects," Chai said.
On his contributions towards enhancing bilateral relations, Chai said one of them was his recommendation to Beijing to establish an industrial park in Malaysia, which was received positively by his government.
"In the last two years, I studied a lot about this country and found out a lot of its potentials.
"I told my colleagues that it is high time for China to consider an industrial park here. My idea was -- let us join hands to set the stage and then invite the entrepreneurs to perform," he said.