BEIJING - The friendship between Malaysia and China is grounded on shared ambitions and similar visions in development goals, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Noting that the "Chinese Dream" was one of economic prosperity, peace and happiness based on opportunities rather than instability, the Prime Minister said Malaysia aimed to be a developed high-income nation playing a greater role in global peace under its "Vision 2020" goal.
"These similarities mean we enjoy a healthy relationship based on mutual trust and respect. It is a friendship that is strong enough to withstand even the most tragic tests," he said in his speech at the Malaysia-China Friendship Dinner, themed "We Are One Family" last night.
The dinner was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of establishment of Malaysia-China diplomatic ties.
Najib said among tests endured by the friendship was the baffling disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
He said Malaysia was grateful to the Chinese Government for its strong support during this difficult time and for its commitment of resources and expertise to help with the search for the still missing aircraft.
The prime minister said 40 years ago, his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein came to Beijing to establish diplomatic relations and had described his trip as a "journey of goodwill, to sow the seeds of mutual understanding and trust".
"Today, those seeds have blossomed into a productive and valued relationship. Over the next 40 years, founded on further understanding and trust, our bilateral ties will continue to grow. So too will the friendship between our peoples."
Najib said China remained one of Malaysia's most important friends and an invaluable partner for prosperity and peace, as both nations celebrate the 40th anniversary of fraternity.
He noted that the friendship was at the very top, citing the visit by President Xi Jinping to Malaysia last year during which China agreed on a Five Year Development Programme for Economic and Trade Cooperation.
Najib said he was also pleased to see more Malaysian students choosing to study in China, adding that the Beijing Foreign Studies University continued to promote the study of the Malay language and teach Chinese language to Malaysian students under the Special Exchange Programme.
He said the proposed Xiamen International University in Malaysia, expected to open soon, would boost such cooperation.
Najib also thanked the Chinese Government for the two pandas which arrived in Malaysia recently. "They have, of course, become instant celebrities; I am sure they will remain a popular attraction, one that reminds us of the enduring friendship between our two countries," he said.