KUALA LUMPUR: China and Malaysia marked the 49th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties on Wednesday, with the relationship demonstrating how trust and mutual respect have formed an enduring partnership that continues to bear fruit, said a political observer, reported Xinhua.

Lee Pei May, a political expert at the International Islamic University Malaysia, said the relationship has gone from strength to strength, with both countries focused on promoting bilateral activities, especially in the economic area.

The special trade relationship between the two has been benefitting Malaysia, she said.

“A good example is during the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia was among the few countries that had received priority access to Chinese-developed vaccines. Such early access to the vaccines was fundamental to the success of Malaysia’s National Immunisation Programme, which had helped safeguard lives and livelihoods,“ she told Xinhua in a recent interview.

As the World Bank predicts rising global recession risks in 2023, it is even more essential for Malaysia to ensure trade and investment with China could expand, the expert said.

“Since China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, we expect trade to continue to flourish between both countries and economic cooperation would reach a new height, allowing Malaysia to weather the predicted recession in 2023.”

Lee said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent visit to Beijing and participation in the Boao Forum was very successful in getting China’s commitment to large amounts of investments that will encourage other foreign investors to make investments in Malaysia.

Moving forward, Lee said Malaysia should leverage on its position within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to advocate for regional peace, cooperation and economic growth.

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