China-Malaysia cooperation will endure twists and turns

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/22 22:13:43

Addressing media in Beijing at the end of his visit on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the Chinese-funded East Coast Rail Link project and a natural gas pipeline project in Sabah will be canceled for now. He claimed that China understood the reasons behind Malaysia's decision. With national debt at $250 billion, "we cannot repay, and also because we don't need those projects for Malaysia at this moment," the prime minister said. 

It was reported that the rail and pipeline projects together cost about $20 billion. The initial investment is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.

It is regrettable that these projects were canceled and the cancellation has incurred economic losses. But this is also a lesson. China-Malaysia cooperation can endure the twists and turns. Mutual trust and willingness to cooperate are not shaken. Malaysia continues to support China's Belt and Road initiative.

During Mahathir's visit, problems in cooperation between the two countries were brought to light, and deepening cooperation was seriously discussed.

Although cooperation projects with Malaysia were shelved, this does not mean a setback for the initiative. As an exclusive initiative, Belt and Road works on the principle of equality and reciprocity, which fits the interests of all participating countries. When the encountered problems are resolved, the initiative will gain more trust and experience.

Dealing with the aftermath of canceled projects requires the joint efforts of China and Malaysia. Mahathir said on Tuesday that compensation would have to be discussed between government officials and the Chinese companies involved. Hopefully, this episode can serve as an example for further cooperation between the two.

That Chinese enterprises go abroad to engage in international cooperation is a long-term task. Many cooperation programs involve developing countries and it has been proved that uncertainties in these countries are more than we know. In future, Chinese have to improve feasibility evaluations of overseas projects and take into consideration all kinds of risks.

With risks ahead, that does not mean Chinese companies should not venture abroad. Development goes hand in hand with risk. The Chinese people should overcome the risks to win more opportunities, instead of politicizing these problems. Chinese companies should not turn a blind eye to any risks or refuse to undertake responsibilities out of fear of risk.

Western opinion hopes that Chinese companies just stay in the country and leave business opportunities to developed countries.

The West has an instinctive interest in exaggerating the setbacks Chinese enterprises encounter overseas, which has some impact on how Chinese people view China's international cooperation.

China has undergone tough times during its reform and opening-up process. As it adopts a progressive and pragmatic attitude, it has become a major economy with the fastest development pace. The country's guidelines that seek positivity and stability should be the foundation of how Chinese cope with concrete problems.


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