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To Build Roads or to Build Walls, the Choice is Yours
——Ambassador’s Speech on Malaysia-China Outlook Forum 2019 held by Star Media Group

Firstly, my special thanks go to the Star Media Group for hosting this forum with the theme:What's Next After Beijing BRI Forum. This is a gathering of the sharpest and wisest minds in the economic, academic and investment arena from both China and Malaysia, exploring opportunities of cooperation, looking forward to a bright future.

10 years after the 2008 financial crisis, the global economy is now again standing at a crossroad. With the protectionism and unilateralism rampaging on and on, we, as human beings, are now faced with hard choices between progression and retrogression, openness and isolation.

At the G20 Summit this June, President Xi Jinping has reiterated, and I quote, that "we, as the leaders of major economies, are duty bound to re-calibrate the direction of the world economy and global governance at this critical juncture, work together to boost market confidence, and bring hope to our people."

China talks the talk, and walks the talk. Since its inception in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has already become a widely participated platform of international cooperation, and a heartily welcomed public good. Participating countries have obtained tangible benefits, and their appreciation of and   participation in the initiative is growing.

So far, a total of 124 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. Meanwhile, total trade between China and BRI countries has surpassed 6 trillion USD, and Chinese enterprises have invested over 90 billion USD in BRI countries, creating about 300 thousand jobs.

Thanks to Belt and Road cooperation, some developing countries now have their first motorways or modern railways. Laos will be fully transformed from a landlocked country to a land bridge country upon the completion of China-Laos Railway in 2021. Belarus has developed its own car industry for the first time and is now the home to the largest industrial park in Eurasia.

According to the World Bank and other research institutes, the BRI will reduce the average global shipment time between 1.2 and 2.5 percent, leading to reduction of aggregate trade costs between 1.1 and 2.2 percent. The BRI will also contribute at least 0.1 percent of global growth in 2019.

 President Xi said many times that the BRI is not a solo by China, but a symphony by all. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir also has rightly put, for all parties to sit together, at the same level, and talk about how to cooperate and benefit. With the efforts by all parties, the 2nd BRF was a resounding success, welcoming heads of state and government from 38 countries, and some 6 thousand participants from more than 150 countries and 92 international organizations. The forum has also resulted in over 283 deliverables. The BRI is now on the fast track of high quality development.

We believe that with the passing of time and the synergy of all parties, Belt and Road cooperation will definitely become deep and concrete, steady and extensive. The Belt and Road will become a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovation, connected civilizations, and clean government.

Malaysia is among the first countries to support the BRI, and is also one with the most early harvests. Under the BRI, cooperation between China and Malaysia in various fields expands. The bilateral trade volume has reached 100 billion USD, and China remains as the biggest trading partner for Malaysia for 10 consecutive years. The Chinese FDI in manufacturing sector in Malaysia has grown more than 4 times in the past 5 years, being the largest source of foreign investment in manufacturing industry for three consecutive years.

By the end of 2018, the Chinese companies have invested in 422 projects in manufacturing sector, creating about 73 thousand jobs in Malaysia. The China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, often referred as "Two Countries Twin Parks", and other projects such as Gemas-Johor Bahru Railway are advancing steadily. After friendly consultations, ECRL has been back on its tracks. CRRC has set its rolling stock plant in Perak, a plant with the highest technological level and largest production capacity among ASEAN countries. Proton is now on the verge of turning profits, just after a one-year cooperation with Geely.

These tangible results and achievements have earned the BRI adamant supports from Malaysian government and people, encouraging more and more people to devote themselves to China–Malaysia cooperation under the framework of BRI. The Pakatan Harapan government has also openly voiced, for many times since last May, its support to the BRI. After his attendance in the 2nd BRF this April, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir returns with a deeper understanding of the BRI, and a deeper conviction for Malaysia's active participation in it.

Now, the Malaysian government is committed to achieving economic transformation, propelling "Industry 4.0" revolution, and striving for rapid economic growth. In this regard, the high-quality production capacity, abundant funds, advanced technology and experiences from China could just be what Malaysia may need. We welcome Malaysia's participation in the BRI cooperation in a deeper, more comprehensive manner, to fully utilize the unique geographical and resource advantage of Malaysia, and to achieve better and faster development through this cooperation. There is great potential and bright prospect for China-Malaysia cooperation under the BRI framework.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

We live in a global village nowadays. With cooperative initiatives like the BRI, we build roads; we build bridges. We connect countries and promote mutual understanding. We achieve common prosperity by cooperation. These are our common goals.

But on the other side, certain countries are now holding high the banner of protectionism and unilateralism, sparing no efforts building walls on borders and walls in trade. These walls not only divide the world which used to be open, free and inclusive, but also may divide the people with misunderstanding and mistrust, undermining our confidence in a safe and prosperous world. The trade war, which has attracted world-wide attention, is started unilaterally by a certain country by building walls of tariff. It is a war between openness and isolation, between inclusiveness and exclusiveness, between win-win cooperation and zero-sum selfishness.

Still there is a ray of hope, as the leaders of China and the U.S. have reached some positive consensus during the G20 Summit a week ago. We wish the U.S. Side would live up to its words and meet half way with the Chinese side. A mutually beneficial solution through dialogue and discussion would be achieved at last, which will bestow the global market with confidence and vitality. After all, a steady and sound China-U.S. relationship is in accordance with the interests of both countries and the world.

To build roads or to build walls, the choice is yours. I believe countries around the world, including Malaysia, would identify the right path and make the right choice, by tearing down the walls of selfishness and building the road to common prosperity. Here I would also like to reiterate that, no matter where the chip falls, China will stay committed to the reform and opening up. China will continue to join hands with other countries, making the world more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. As China opens wider to the world, it will certainly foster more positive dynamics with the world, and bring about more benefits to the people from all countries, including Malaysia.

With that I'd like to conclude my speech and wish this forum a full success.

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