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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dato’ Sri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob in Beijing, April 16, 2019.
China appreciates Malaysia’s support in the Belt and Road Initiative and welcomes the participation of the country’s prime minister in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.
Wang’s comment came as he met in Beijing with the visiting Secretary-General of the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dato’ Sri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob.
Wang said China welcomes the participation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the second forum, which is set to encourage broader prospects for bilateral, all-around cooperation.
Mahathir visited China in August, his first official visit outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region after assuming the office.
Wang said China and Malaysia are good friends, good neighbors and good partners, and the two nations have formed a tradition of offering support and trust to each other in their long history of bilateral ties.
He also voiced China’s full confidence in the development of bilateral relations and its willingness to see Malaysia play a greater role in the international community.
The Malaysian guest said Mahathir looked forward to coming to China and it showed that Malaysia attached importance to and supported the Belt and Road Initiative.
The meeting came after an announcement by the office of Malaysia’s prime minister that it would resume the country’s East Coast Rail Link project on Friday.
A renegotiated deal for the project was achieved after months of negotiation between Malaysia and China.
As part of the new deal, the construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the project has been reduced by 21.5 billion Malaysian ringgit ($5.22 billion) to 44 billion ringgit, with China Communications Construction Co set to become part of a joint venture that manages, operates and maintains the rail network.
The Malaysian government said in the announcement that the rail link will serve as a stimulus for economic growth and development, especially for the country’s East Coast states.
Song Yinghui, a researcher in Southeast Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the rail link will play a pivotal role to balance the economic growth of different regions in Malaysia.
"The rail network will serve to improve the quality of growth and boost efficiency of the economy. That is why it fits into the essence of the Belt and Road Initiative," she said.
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