Published: 14:37, June 19, 2024 | Updated: 17:19, June 19, 2024
China, M’sia to work to conclude China-ASEAN FTA 3.0 talks early
By Xinhua
Chinese Premier Li Qiang (left) arrives at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, June 18, 2024, for an official visit to Malaysia at the invitation of the country’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

KUALA LUMPUR – Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday agreed that both sides will work for an 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.

The statement came when the Chinese premier met the Malaysian prime minister in Kuala Lumpur.

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In his first official visit to the Southeast Asian country, Li arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday in the third and last leg of his eight-day tour that earlier took him to New Zealand and Australia.

Li said China-Malaysia ties are at the forefront among relations between regional countries, and have set a benchmark and an example.

Noting this year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia, as well as "China-Malaysia Friendship Year," he said that in the past half-century, no matter how the international situation changed, China and Malaysia have always been committed to sincere friendship, win-win cooperation and mutual learning and their relationship has been steadily moving forward.  

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar reached an important consensus on jointly building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, drawing a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations in the new era, he said.

China is ready to work with Malaysia to continue to prioritize bilateral relations in their respective foreign policies and take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties to accelerate the building of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, maintain close high-level exchanges, deepen cooperation in various sectors and continuously enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, he said.

Anwar said Malaysia adheres to the one-China policy, firmly supports the reunification of China, and does not support any words or deeds advocating 'Taiwan independence'

Li said China is ready to work with Malaysia to synergize their development strategies more closely and give full play to their complementary advantages.

China is willing to work with Malaysia to steadily advance the construction of major projects such as the East Coast Rail Link and the "Two Countries, Twin Parks," while expanding the scale of trade and investment, promoting cooperation in such areas as logistics, new energy, artificial intelligence, digital economy and railway equipment, strengthening cooperation in poverty reduction to better achieve win-win cooperation, he said.

Li called on the two sides to deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, in areas such as culture, tourism, and education, as well as between the youths of the two nations and at the sub-national level to further facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries.

China, he said, is ready to work closely with Malaysia in multilateral areas, promote the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the Asian values featuring peace, cooperation, inclusiveness and integration, and jointly safeguard ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation.

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Anwar told Li that Malaysia adheres to the one-China policy, firmly supports the reunification of China, and does not support any words or deeds advocating "Taiwan independence".

Li and Anwar 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.