The Malaysia-China Friendship Association (PPMC) hosted a “China-Malaysia Friendship Night” gala dinner on Wednesday to mark the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia.

A string of events to commemorate the strong and firm bond between the two countries will be held throughout the year.

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook and Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian joined hundreds of guests at the event.

In his speech, Loke stressed that the relationship between Malaysia and China has grown by leaps and bounds since initial contacts, and that China’s meteoric rise as a big economy has greatly benefited Malaysia in turn.

Not only has China been the largest trade partner of Malaysia for over a decade, but Malaysia has improved its connectivity with the world through successful railway cooperation with China including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and maritime cooperation initiatives, Loke said.

“I am confident that our strong ties will continue and move forward to even greater heights in the future as we enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit.”

“In the transport industry, Malaysia and China not only work together to develop ECRL and many other rail development projects, but we also have cooperation in the maritime sector. Malaysia and China established the Malaysia-China Port Alliance four years ago,” he added, referring to an effort to facilitate maritime connectivity under Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

Bai pointed out that the ties between China and Malaysia have been featured with mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation.

“From China’s perspective, Malaysia is by no means a small country, but a respectable, trustworthy and important partner, whom we are more than willing to work with,” he said.

PPMC President Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan said “Our 45 years’ journey of friendship and cooperation is what we all can be truly proud of. It has been carefully nurtured over the years and has brought mutual benefit and cemented strong bonds of partnership between the level of government to government, people to people as well as business to business.”

Malaysian government’s special envoy to China Tan Kok Wai said the long friendship between the two countries has paved the way for fruitful cooperation between the two countries.

“Due to the solid foundation of friendship between Malaysians and Chinese, the Belt and Road Initiative has been effectively executed and achieved remarkable results, a reward for both nations,” he said, adding that the two countries will jointly uphold multilateralism, oppose trade protectionism and unilateralism.

China and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on May 31, 1974.