China, the second largest in the world palm oil buyer, is Malaysia’s largest trading partner and accounts for about 19% of the country’s total trade in 2021. Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil (Indonesia is first).
China is also willing to facilitate the return of Malaysian students to Chinese universities and is seeking to “significantly increase” the number of direct flights between the two countries.
With the Covid-19 situation continuing to be “managed”, people of both countries “can visit each other as often as possible, as family members and relatives”.
China’s foreign minister, in a speech on Monday in Jakarta, criticized the US for seeking to undermine the one-China policy, not taking aim at Washington directly during the press conference.
Instead, he emphasized the strong relationship between China and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, saying “no one can separate us”. [and] No one can stop us from moving forward.”
Saifuddin said Malaysia hopes for Chinese investment in the digital economy and said the ongoing development of the East Coast Railway – a Beijing-backed project linked to the Belt and Road Initiative Belt and Road – was one of the topics discussed in the bilateral talks on Tuesday.
The project has a controversial history and was suspended for some time in 2018 after the administration of the elder Mahathir Mohamad – who won that year’s election – said the plan needed to be seen. review due to high cost.
The project was later resumed on different terms, before the original plan was reinstated, with such changes due in part to the country’s internal power struggles.
Wang said road connectivity is key to regional integration and reiterated China’s long-held hope of a “trans-Asian railway link” linking China’s railways to countries in Southeast Asia. ASIAN. A key part of that plan involved a high-speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia, which was scrapped during Mahathir’s 2018-2020 rule.
Among those advocating a revival of the project is Mahathir’s arch-rival, former prime minister Najib Razak, who forged ties with Beijing when he was in power from 2009 to 2018.
Wang said China will “keep in touch about the construction of the Singapore-Malaysia railway”.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg