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Malaysia, China boost ties, overlapping claims in South China Sea not a factor

NANNING (China), Sept 21 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and China continue to strengthen the existing bilateral ties without letting the overlapping claims in the South China Sea hamper the efforts.

The bilateral ties between Malaysia and China were taken to greater heights during the half-hour meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, who had shown a very keen interest in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin said Xi probably could not forget the facts that Malaysia was the first among Asean member countries to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1974, besides being the first country to invite the republic to join Asean+1 and to host the Asean-China Summit.

"He (Xi) really appreciates the supports given by Malaysia," he told the Malaysian press covering his visit to China here today.

On the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, Muhyiddin said he had made it clear to Xi that the issues should not affect the long existing economic ties between Malaysia and China.

"Although the issues have yet be resolved, all trades and investments should go on and remain unaffected," he said.

The deputy prime minister said Malaysia believed that the overlapping claims should be resolved peacefully through dialogues and negotiations between the countries involved, without involving military powers and intimidation, and that it should also be based on international law and not history.

He said the implementation of the South China Sea Code of Conduct (CoC) and the ongoing efforts to ensure its success were essential to resolve the issues.

"These issues shouldn't affect the existing ties between China and other countries too," he said.

For the record, several countries, namely Malaysia, Philippine, Brunei, Vietnam, China and Taiwan, have made overlapping claims over waters and islands in the South China Sea.

The meeting also discussed the development of Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and Qinzhou Industrial Park which would symbolise the strong ties between the two countries.

Muhyiddin said Xi had also expressed his intention to boost Asean-China trade in four major areas, namely in strengthening China-Asean Free Trade Area (FTA) involving private and government-to-government programmes; the importance of bilateral investment to boost China-Asean relations; improving connectivity in various fields and emphasizing on people-to-people relations, especially among youths and students.

As such, Muhyiddin said Xi also proposed the setting of an exchange programme involving 100,000 Chinese students and 100,000 other from Asean member countries.

At the end of the meeting, Muhyiddin also thanked the Chinese government on the loan of a pair of Chinese giant pandas, which were scheduled to arrive in Malaysia in 2014.

"Xi has described the loan as a symbol of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations. China doesn't give pandas just to anybody," he said, adding that the facilities for the pandas were being prepared at the Wetland Park in Putrajaya.



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