BEIJING, May 29 — Visiting Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today called on Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse here.

Ahmad Zahid, who was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Mohamad Alamin and Malaysian Ambassador to China Datuk Norman Muhamad, arrived at about 4pm.

This visit is his first official trip to China since assuming the role of deputy prime minister in December 2022, made at the invitation of China’s Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang.

During the welcoming remarks, both parties expressed their readiness to continue strengthening the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, which have been established since May 31, 1974.

“I am here to represent Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) and our country to discuss the way forward to strengthen our relationship through government-to-government (G2G), business-to-business (B2B), and people-to-people (P2P),” said Ahmad Zahid.

Ahmad Zahid also said that Malaysia-China diplomatic relations should not be disrupted or damaged by external influences, ensuring that the ties between the people and administrations of both countries are always safeguarded for the future generations.

Meanwhile, Li Qiang said China will continue to build and strengthen China-Malaysia cooperation for the benefit of the people of both countries, as well as contributing to the prosperity of the world community.

“Let’s make this 50 years (anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations) the best for more greater years to come through the strategic leadership by our President Xi Jinping together with Prime Minister Anwar,” he said.

The visit is part of the exchange of high-level visits lined up for the year to commemorate the 50th year of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations.

During his stay in Beijing, he is also scheduled to hold discussions with Ding Xuexiang and State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong.

Ahmad Zahid will also host a gala reception and attend the 50th-anniversary celebration of the establishment of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations, co-organised by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing.

According to a statement from Wisma Putra, the official visit aims to strengthen bilateral relations, focusing on exploring cooperation opportunities in education, particularly TVET, the development of the halal industry and people-to-people exchanges.

In 2023, trade between Malaysia and China reached RM450.84 billion, accounting for 17.1 per cent of Malaysia’s global trade.

China ranks as the fifth largest investor in Malaysia, with these projects expected to create 9,305 job opportunities. — Bernama