KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Renowned Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Malacca, now a historical city of Malaysia, five times during his seven transoceanic expeditions around the Indian Ocean over 600 years ago, which laid solid foundation for the friendship between the two countries.
Now with China's initiatives to build the Silk Road economic belt and a 21st-century maritime Silk Road, known for short as the Belt and the Road, China and Malaysia see a new opportunity to promote their cooperation in trade and economy.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said that the Malaysian side is supportive of the incentive to build the Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt, and has been keeping an open mind on it.
"Malaysia is a trading nation and we have a number of sea ports, which doing well, Kuantan, for example, Port Klang. They have already a kind of two-way arrangement between Kuantan Port and Qingzhou Port," he said, adding that he visited Qingzhou Port of China two years ago, which gave a deep impression on him.
"Kuantan of cause is small, but government is spending a lot of money at Kuantan Port for such development. So, Kuantan, Port Klang, Pinang and Johor Port, they are very important links of Maritime Silk Road," he said.
The minister said they are very supportive of this proposal, and will come out with complete program to promote it between the ports in China and Malaysia.
Moreover, he revealed that as the trade volume between China and Malaysia is very huge, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has decided to set up a high level committee chaired by him, to monitor closely the ties between the two countries.
"Not just investment trade, also tourism, culture, agriculture, halal and other issues as well," he said, adding "this is a very important decision made by our PM, twice a year he will chair meetings between Malaysia government officials and those of us involved in promoting closely ties with China."
At the same time, Oh Ei Sun, senior research fellow at Nanyang Technology University of Singapore and former political secretary to the Malaysian prime minister, told Xinhua that the countries in the South East Asia have a very positive attitude towards China's proposal of building the Silk Road economic belt and a 21st- century maritime Silk Road, and hope that China can play a leading role in this process.
He pointed out that the sea transportation between Malaysia, Singapore and China has already been quite busy, however, the infrastructures of the ports in the South East Asia are still not good enough.
"If China can give more support to the South East Asian countries in fields like the construction of port, improvement of logistics, etc., the communications between the two sides will be more convenient," he added.