KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Malaysia regards the 45 years of diplomatic ties it established with China as not merely anchored on diplomacy and trade but also as a relationship that has reached the level of friendship based on civilisation.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the relationship could be viewed specifically from the time of the arrival of Chinese in Malaya during the Melaka Malay Sultanate and not only during the English colonial era.

“So this relationship is very deep, based on civilisation and surpassing normal ties, and it will get better.

“Hundreds of years of history, and we are looking hundreds of years in the future; we are very positive,” he told reporters after launching a photo exhibition on 45 Years of Malaysia-China Glory here today.

Also present were China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall president Datuk Ong Seng Khek.

A total of 120 historic photos on Malaysia-China ties from China’s new agency Xinhua are on display at the exhibition which runs from today until May 31.

Hence, Saifuddin said both countries were now focusing on industries of the future, especially in robotics and the artificial intelligence sector.

“So on the one hand our relations are historically based on civilisation, but now our relations are moving forward not only in terms of enhancing trade but also looking at the industries of the future,” he said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the new Malaysian government that came to power in May last year is committed to strengthening Malaysia-China relations with even closer and more meaningful co-operation.

The trade and investment growth between the two countries in recent years had been meteoric and this trend would continue to generate more opportunities in the areas of tourism, science and technology as well as cultural exchanges, he said in a message in the souvenir book published by the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, or better known as PPMC, to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. — Bernama