Malaysia needs its own strategic thinking on China as its growing importance to Malaysia and to the region, a former Malaysian envoy said Thursday.

Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, a seasoned diplomat and former Malaysian Ambassador to China, said Malaysia currently depends too much on the western thinking on China.

It is “high time” for the Malaysian academics and institutes to develop a more Malaysian and regional thinking on China, which would be beneficial to the country, he said.

Malaysia has shown its strategic thinking when it established ties with China in 1974, at the height of the Cold War, he added.

Malaysia was the first member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to establish diplomatic relations with China.

The bilateral ties have blossomed, especially on economic front as China is now Malaysia’s largest trading partner and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in ASEAN.

Majid stressed the growing importance of China to Malaysia, citing China’s increasing geopolitical prominence, its economic influences and the fact that the two countries are close neighbors with friendship dates back centuries.

He was speaking at the new offices opening of the Institutes of China Studies of Malaysia’s highly regarded University of Malaya.

The Institutes of China Studies at University of Malaya was the first research institute in Malaysia with specific focus on China, providing advices to the Malaysian government, corporate sector and diplomatic corps on issues related to business political economy and strategic or bilateral relations.

Its head Danny Wong said the institute eyes to be the top in China studies in Malaysia, adding that the institute plans to hold seminars and publish research in Malay to facilitate deeper understanding among Malaysian public on China.

Feb. 18, 2016 on XinhuaNet

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