'China as a stabilising force'

PETALING JAYA - China should be viewed as a force of stabilisation rather than apprehension, said the Prime Minister's special envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting.

"China has put forward a series of major initiatives to build a closer community of common destiny between China and ASEAN," said Ong when opening the International Conference on Malaysia, China and the Asia-Pacific Region in the Twenty-First Century.

Organised by Universiti Malaya's Institute of Chinese Studies and the university's Kong Zi Institute, the conference aimed to assess the relations between Malaysia and China in the context of Asia-Pacific political economic developments after 40 years of diplomatic ties.

Ong pointed out that China's inclusive strategy included offering ASEAN countries to jointly construct and participate in the Silk Road economic belt, which benefited the Asia-Pacific region.

He noted the importance of the 21st century Silk Road, which in the past served as an important trade route connecting countries from east to west.

"We need to have an open and inclusive mentality in building the new Silk Road.

"We need to use this opportunity to enhance cooperation on the ecology, environment and development of green economy," said Ong.

He added that with Malaysia being the chair of ASEAN next year, the country hoped to play a pivotal role in bringing China closer to ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific region by putting an emphasis on China's latest diplomacy.

Malaysia was the first South-East Asian country to establish relations with China and over the past four decades, friendship and business ties between the two has developed tremendously.

China is Malaysia's largest trading partner, and Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in ASEAN.