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Najib’s visit marks milestone in Malaysia-China friendship

By Thursday June 4th, 2009 No Comments

BEIJING: Trust has been the key to the success of the strong ties between Malaysia and China, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“This bond of friendship between Malaysia and China is based on the word trust. If my late father (Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) trusted the Chinese leaders (then), I have the same respect with regard to the current leaders (of China),” he said in his acceptance address after receiving an honorary doctorate in international relations from the Beijing Foreign Studies University here yesterday.

Najib said although he was unable to accompany his father, Malaysia’s second prime minister, on the historic visit to China in 1974, he remembers vividly what his father said of that trip:

“I can work with (Prime Minister) Zhou Enlai and I have the greatest respect for him.”

Najib said what his father meant was that the relations between the two countries must be based on trust.

“If we have the trust, everything can be possible,” he said.

Pledging to take Kuala Lumpur-Beijing relations to greater heights, Najib said the present and future generations of Malaysians and the Chinese were now reaping the fruits of the labour and vision of past leaders like Razak and Zhou.

Dwelling at length on the fateful meeting 35 years ago here, Najib said it was like the Chinese saying that the journey of a thousand miles must start with the first step.

Najib believed his late father did not think of first and second steps but the thousands of miles for the future generations.

“It took courage to make that decision and it was the right decision,” he said, describing his late father’s move then as bold and momentous and ahead of his time.

Quoting another Chinese idiom “yin shui si yuan” (When drinking water, don’t forget the people who dug the well), Najib said he was modifying the saying to – it is the responsibility of Malaysian and Chinese leaders to dig more wells so that no well will run dry and water would flow for the well-being of both Malaysia and China.

Najib emphasised: “Let us work together and continue this journey that began 35 years ago.”

On fears expressed by certain quarters of China’s tremendous growth into becoming a global economic powerhouse, Najib said such fears were unfounded because the Chinese civilisation has always been based on friendship.

“We began as friends and the friendship between the Malay world and the Chinese world is not new. It began during the era of the Ming Dynasty when fleet commander Zheng He visited Malacca with 35,000 troops and 300 vessels.”

He said if an armada of that size had desired to capture Malacca then, it would have been achieved easily.

“However, China had no such intention. Instead, it extended a hand of friendship. Malaysia does not consider China a threat because Malaysia had many times to evaluate China over the past 600 years,” he said.

Najib also noted his official visit to the China as Malaysia’s prime minister was also “very personal” to him as the visit also coincides with the period of his late father’s historic visit to China 35 years ago and that the conferment of the honorary doctorate on him was a symbol of the closeness of the friendship between Malaysia and China.

Najib said the relations between Malaysia and China were deep-rooted and personal for him and that was the reason he brought along his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, their two children (son Nor Ashman and daughter Nooryana), his mother Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah and his brother Nazir for the official visit.

Najib also acknowledged the 60 students from China at the university who are studying Malay and the 36 students from Malaysia there who are studying Chinese.

Najib said he would also ask his youngest child Nooryanna, who is studying Chinese at Georgetown University in Washington DC, to attend this Beijing university for a month or two.

He said he felt that “if we study languages, we will understand the civilisations of both nations and when we understand both civilisations, the relations will be more cordial and tangible”.

Earlier, Prof Hao Ping, China’s vice-education minister who is the university’s president, acknowledged the Prime Minister’s contributions to the institution from the time he was the Education Minister and said that it was Najib’s fourth visit to the university.

Also present at the ceremony were Gu Xiu Lian, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People’s Congress and president of the China-Asean Association, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon as well as Malaysian business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Source : The Star

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