KOTA KINABALU: The strengths and advantages of Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou city, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province, will be further enhanced by fostering friendship and cooperation ties, said Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.
In fact, Yeo said yesterday that both cities would ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish friendship city status and cooperation.
Yeo said this during a welcoming dinner which he hosted for a Hangzhou delegation led by the Standing Committee of Hangzhou People’s Congress Chairman, Wang Jincai, at The Pacific Sutera on Thursday.
He said the China-Malaysia relations dated back as early as the Ming Dynasty when the Chinese trade envoy arrived in Malacca last century.
“The relationship between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing officially began in 1974, making Malaysia the first country in the region to establish diplomatic ties with China.
“This relationship is based on respect and mutual trust.”
Since then, Yeo said economic ties and bilateral trade between both countries kept expanding.
“China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner from 2009 to 2015. Last year, the bilateral trade of both countries amounted to USD 100 billion.”
Yeo added that Malaysia and China have also signed a MoU worth RM155 billion last week, while Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba has been appointed as the digital economy advisor for Malaysia.
“At the same time, Alitrip Malaysia Tourism has been launched to attract Chinese tourists to our country.”
As such, he said the Hangzhou delegation’s visit to Kota Kinabalu was timely as both cities were akin to long lost twins.
Yeo said Hangzhou and Kota Kinabalu shared many similarities, particularly in the tourism industry.
“Hangzhou city has many beautiful and historical tourist attractions while Kota Kinabalu has many interesting tourist spots as well.”
Hence, Yeo believed that the strengths and advantages of both cities could be further enhanced with the establishment of friendship ties and cooperation.
Meanwhile, Wang said he had high anticipation that both cities would join hands in conducting various forms of exchanges and cooperation in tourism, economy, education and culture with the common goal to promote win-win developments in Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou upon signing the MoU.
He also looked forward to forging formal sister city ties with Kota Kinabalu city in the near future.
Wang said Hangzhou, which recently hosted the G20 Summit this year, was one of the strongest economic powerhouses with the best investment environment in China after the country has undergone 30 years of economic reform and opening policy.
“Last year, we reached a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of RMB1 trillion, equivalent to approximately USD161.4 billion, making Hangzhou among the top 10 cities in China.”
Meanwhile, he said Hangzhou, a city with over 9 million population, has also achieved the World Bank’s standard of high-income economy as its GDP per capita had reached USD18,000.
Also present were Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang, Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Hajah Jainab Ahmad Ayid, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah, City Hall director general Datuk Joannes Solidau and Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Chen Peijie.