KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 (Xinhua)- Designed as a finely cut gem, Gombak Integrated Terminal Station is among the largest facilities within Malaysia’s East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. Situated near Kuala Lumpur, it is expected to significantly alleviate urban traffic congestion upon its completion.

The construction of the station, witnessed by visiting Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, on Wednesday, marking a milestone for the entire ECRL project.

As a flagship project of the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and Malaysia, the 665 km-long ECRL is anticipated to foster balanced development between Malaysia’s eastern and western coasts once completed. It will also advance the building of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, a vision agreed upon in 2023 by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar.

Since then, many projects under the Belt and Road cooperation, including the ECRL and Malaysia-China “Two Countries, Twin Parks,” are progressing smoothly, significantly strengthening regional connectivity and the economic integration between the two countries, Ong Tee Keat, president of Belt and Road Initiative Caucus for Asia Pacific, told Xinhua.

During his visit, Li said China is ready to work with Malaysia to accelerate the building of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, noting that the two countries are neighbors with a millennium-old friendship, friends connected by heart, and partners for win-win cooperation.

Under Li and Anwar’s witness, the two sides exchanged several bilateral cooperation documents in fields such as economy and trade, science and technology, culture, tourism, postal services, agricultural exports to China, digital economy, green development, urban construction, and higher education.

These documents demonstrate the high-level political mutual trust between the two countries and their joint efforts to build a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, said Koh King Kee, president of the Center for New Inclusive Asia.

“We are looking forward to the further implementation of the three China-proposed major global initiatives (Global Development Initiative, Global Civilization Initiative, and Global Security Initiative) in the region, including Malaysia,” Ong said, adding that the Global Development Initiative is a multidimensional cooperation platform and the Global Civilization Initiative is crucial for Malaysia as the developing country explores its own path to development and modernization.

During their meeting on Wednesday, Li and Anwar pledged to push for the early conclusion of the negotiations for version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

“As Malaysia takes over the rotating chairmanship of the ASEAN next year, we hope for the early conclusion of the negotiations for version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. It will definitely elevate the economic and trade ties between China and ASEAN to a new level,” Ong said.

“This will not only be reflected in bilateral trade figures but, more importantly, we anticipate greater market access. For countries like Malaysia, this is absolutely what we have been dreaming of. I believe we will see more tariff reductions, which will certainly benefit China, Malaysia and ASEAN,” the expert said.

Admitting this is a world that “lacks openness and cooperation, but never blockade and confrontation,” Li, in his keynote speech when attending the reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia and the Year of China-Malaysia Friendship with Anwar, called on the world to “put more emphasis on mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, and completely discard the zero-sum game thinking and practices.”

“China shows a very good example of multilateralism,” Azmi Hassan, a senior research fellow at Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research, told Xinhua. “It is also the right path for Malaysia to be open to trade.”

Delving deep into the 50-year relationship between China and Malaysia, Li highlighted that the development of this relationship has provided both sides with many important experiences and inspirations, listing the commitment to independent strategies being the foremost one.

“Over the past half-century, China-Malaysia relations have braved the waves and grown stronger, undisturbed by wind and rain, and never interrupted by external forces … Ours is a fine example of relations between countries in the region,” said Li.

Building on this important experience, Li and Anwar earlier in the day agreed that China and relevant ASEAN countries should independently and properly handle the South China Sea issue, manage disputes and differences, promote dialogue and cooperation, and stick to the general direction of bilateral settlement.

“We don’t need the United States, and we don’t need AUKUS or QUAD coming into this discussion. It will only make things worse,” Hassan said.

Reiterating that the South China Sea issue must be resolved among ASEAN members and China, Anwar said earlier this month that “there should not be involvement with other parties because it will be deemed to be more complex and will complicate the matter.”

On the South China Sea issue, Malaysia and China have agreed to handle disputes and differences between the two countries without involving third parties, particularly those outside the region. This approach will reduce the influence of external parties, and other ASEAN countries can use this as a reference, Ong said. Enditem


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