PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, March 2 (Xinhua) -- "The reform and opening-up has proved itself to be the right path" with China's significant achievements and development over the past 40 years, said Wee Ka Siong, a minister in Malaysia's Prime Minister's Department.
He believes the wider world including Malaysia will benefit as China embraces further reforms and opening-up to realize its Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
GREAT ACHIEVEMENT IN REFORM AND OPENING-UP
Recalling his first trip to China in the early 1990s, Wee said that China today is "totally different" in many ways compared with the country he saw more than 20 years ago.
In just several decades, China has become the second largest economy in the world, and the growth in its gross domestic product showed that "the path of reform and opening-up is a correct one," not to mention that more than 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, Wee told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday.
The reform and opening-up entered another phase when China stepped up its pace to connect with the world by joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, Wee said.
The Belt and Road Initiative proposed in 2013 has marked another milestone. With overwhelmingly positive responses, the initiative is changing the global landscape, he added.
"In my view, the 40 years of reform and opening up is becoming more and more comprehensive especially in the recent years. As overseas Chinese, we are very happy about that," said Wee, who is also the deputy president of Malaysian Chinese Association, one of the three major component parties of Malaysia's ruling coalition that seeks to represent the Malaysian Chinese ethnicity.
FRUITFUL BILATERAL TIES
As Wee pointed out, Malaysia has become the first country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1974, which indicates that the development of the bilateral ties has almost coincided with China's reform and opening-up.
Many Malaysian Chinese entrepreneurs have responded to the call of the then Chinese leaders to invest in China, making the overall Malaysian investment in China much higher than the other way round for a long time, he said.
The tide has changed in recent years, as more and more Chinese companies invest in Malaysia. Wee is confident that the overall Chinese investment in Malaysia will match the Malaysian investment in China very soon.
"Today, we see many Chinese companies in Malaysia. This is in line with the new global economic landscape," he said. "Chinese companies now have enough capital and technology to venture abroad."
As Malaysia-China ties were enhanced to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013, Malaysia now sees China as a partner that "could be trusted and depended on," Wee said.
In the case of palm oil export, when several European countries boycotted import from Malaysia, one of the largest palm oil exporters in the world, China provided Malaysia with the timely help by increasing its import, the Malaysian minister told Xinhua.
DREAMS TO BENEFIT ALL
In the interview, Wee spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative, which he said promotes cooperation and dialogue rather than alliance and competition.
Proposed in 2013, the initiative aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
When some western leaders stressed their own countries should always come first, Chinese leaders commit to further opening-up. As China have been pursuing its Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, the neighboring countries are not marginalized, Wee said.
He hopes that the upcoming annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference would come out with some beneficial policies for neighboring countries like Malaysia.
Wee said he believes China's growing influence could become positive energy to bring greater prosperity to other countries and to build the community with a shared future.
"President Xi Jinping has articulated his ideas on the Chinese dream, the dream for the Asia-Pacific and the dream of the world," Wee said. "I believe this dream of the world is the dream that everyone is anticipating, and a dream in which everyone could be the winner."