Monday, November 9, 2009

Malaysia makes history with China

A first for both countries, China's president Hu Jintao is coming to visit.

Chinese president to visit Malaysia Tuesday

PETALING JAYA: Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives in Malaysia Tuesday, the first visit by a Chinese head of state in 15 years, marking yet another milestone in the development of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The President, who will be accompanied by his wife Liu Yongqing, a 140-member official entourage and a 80-member press corp, is on his first state visit to the country at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

The highlight of his official visit, which is a first by a Chinese head of state in 15 years, will be a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Wednesday to discuss issues relating to bilateral cooperation.

It is understood that among others, discussions would center on the “cementing” of various agreements and issues already raised between Najib and Hu, and with other Chinese leaders during Najib’s visit to China in June, particularly on investments and trade.

Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China had risen to US$39.06bil (RM132.86bil) in 2008, a 10.3% increased from the figure in 2007, and China is now Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner.

Recent reports had also speculated that the Malaysian government was to announce the issuance of an operating permit for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) to coincide with the visit, making it the second Chinese bank after Bank of China.

The visit, also comes at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries.

Hu - whose last visit to Malaysia was in 2002 when he was vice-president - will be given an official welcome at the Parliament Square, followed by an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Istana Negara and a state banquet.

He is also expected to attend a lunch hosted by Najib on Wednesday before leaving for Singapore to attend the 17th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit.

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