Malaysia and China enjoy a time-honored friendship. The Southeast Asian country is an active supporter, participant and coordinator of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to build a modern trade and infrastructure network across the ancient Silk Road routes.
First of all, Malaysia supports the Belt and Road Initiative economically and politically.
According to the Joint Communique of the People’s Republic of China and Malaysia in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two sides welcome the initiatives proposed by leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, including the establishment of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Secondly, Malaysia shows full cooperation in putting the Belt and Road into practice. It joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a prospective founding member. Also, Malaysia and China collaborate on major projects such as the China-Malaysia “two double-park”, the expansion of Kuantan Port on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Port Klang in Malacca and the construction of the East Coast Rail Link, which spans four Malaysian states.
Thirdly, Malaysia actively promotes the Belt and Road in the ASEAN region and devotes itself to resolving bilateral disputes and balancing regional relationships between China and ASEAN members.
Especially in terms of the South China Sea issue, Malaysia has always been of the opinion that countries must ‘promote regional peace and security through moderation as a shared value’ and deal with disputes through friendly consultations and dialogue, while avoiding issues that sabotage bilateral relations.
Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia occupies a strategic location along the routes covered by the Belt and Road. This makes the country both a perfect bridge and a bond in the initiative.
Malaysia aims to achieve developed nation status by 2020. This target matches Belt and Road proposals that seek to enhance the economic development of the countries it reaches. Malaysia and China are in the vital stage of deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership. As the flagship project of investment cooperation between China and Malaysia, the “two double-park” is a successful venture under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Meanwhile, Malaysia also serves to demonstrate to ASEAN the real benefits to be reaped by cooperating with China under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The author is director of the Department for Malaysia Studies, China-ASEAN Research Institute of Guangxi University.