Xi: Like meeting an old friend for the first time

PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was hoping that he and China President Xi Jinping would hit it off in their first official meeting.

"Yi jian ru gu" (translated in Mandarin as the feeling of meeting an old friend in the first encounter) was what Xi told the Prime Minister to signify the kinship between them.

At the Malaysia-China Economic Summit held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, Najib related that he was moved after Xi used the Chinese phrase during his state visit to Malaysia. Xi had also described Malaysia as a "trustworthy friend and partner".

Several ministers and government officials attested to the genuine chemistry between the two leaders.

Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, the Prime Minister's special envoy to China, said Xi used the Mandarin saying "yi jian ru gu" to describe his encounter with Najib because he had a good impression of the latter.

"Xi was expressing it to show that he was very comfortable with Najib. Their chemistry was excellent and they agreed on almost all views expressed," he said.

He said he could foresee there would be a lot of goodwill between Malaysia and China from now on based on the warmer ties established.

"Not only good relations in the past will be maintained but there will be more breakthroughs in future," he said.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Najib and Xi had been "open, frank and sincere" in their discussions.

"Both are committed to taking our relations to a higher strategic level," said Mustapa.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Xi and Najib showed good rapport during their bilateral talks.

"Both of them got along excellently and were on the same wavelength on many issues.

"It was a very good session, with both sides getting to understand each other better," he said.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said Najib cemented ties with China during his private dinner with Xi where he kept the tone of the evening very personal and unofficial.

"In their conversations, there was an element of sincerity and warmth," he said.

Xi left from the KL International Airport at 3.15pm yesterday, concluding his three-day visit.

He headed for Bali to attend the APEC Summit.