BEIJING: A new era of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China has begun with the first official visit of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here as Prime Minister â€“ retracing the steps his father made 35 years ago.
Najib and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao went out of their way to express the importance of the already strong relations between the two nations which were established by Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Zhou Enlai in 1974.
Malaysia’s sixth prime minister described China as an old loyal friend and pledged to take good ties between the two nations to greater heights.
Wen said bilateral talks and the signing of four MoUs between the two countries marked a new chapter in bilateral relations and likened the strengthened relations between them to the deep roots of a tree which would bring forth leafy foliage and bountiful harvests of fruits.
The two men were speaking to officials and media personnel present at the signing of four memoranda of understanding between the two Governments.
The impromptu speeches were a break from the diplomatic tradition where normally no remarks are made after such signings.
However, Wen took the microphone after he had presented Najib with a copy of a black and white photograph of Razak signing a joint communique with Zhou to establish diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China in 1974.
Wen said China “deeply appreciated the two generations” of the Razak family in ensuring the continued growth in the relations between the two countries.
Najib then took the opportunity to show the picture to his mother Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah, wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and his daughter Nooryana Najwa and son Nor Ashman, who were all present at the ceremony.
The historic picture was taken at the same location as yesterday’s ceremony, the West Hall of the Great Hall of the People, some 35 years ago.
Wen said relations between the two countries had expanded and deepened since then and also alluded to a Chinese proverb that said if one drank water from a well, he or she should not forget who had dug the well and that the Chinese government did not forget the role played by past leaders like Razak and Zhou.
In response, Najib said he would “dig more wells” to ensure that “the flow of water would be forever bountiful that we can both share for the mutual benefit of both countries”.
He thanked Wen for the special welcome and hospitality accorded to him.
Najib said that in view of China’s special ties with Malaysia, he chose to visit China as the first country outside Asean since becoming prime minister two months ago.
He said he would not only be following the footsteps of his father but intended to take Malaysia-China relations to greater heights, especially with the fact that “China had advanced so far ahead”.
He hoped that Malaysia and China would be partners in charting a new course to bring about deeper bilateral relations.
Najib said the first generation had done its part by establishing diplomatic relations 35 years ago and it was now incumbent upon the subsequent generations to carry on the work further.
Earlier, Najib was accorded a warm and grand welcome at a special welcoming ceremony by Wen on the grounds of the Great Hall of the People next to Tiananmen Square.
Source : The Star