China rolls out red carpet for Dr M at Great Hall of the People

Saidon Idris

BEIJING: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived at the Great Hall of the People here today for the official welcoming ceremony held in conjunction with his five-day official visit to China.

Dr Mahathir arrived in Hangzhou on Friday and was welcomed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Both leaders today led a meeting between the Chinese and Malaysian delegations before witnessing the signing of three memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to enhance bilateral ties between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.

The MOUs mark the strengthening of the Kuala Lumpur–Beijing strategic partnership in the areas of agriculture and agri-commodities.

This is Dr Mahathir's first official visit to China as prime minister after a 17-year gap, having made his last official trip to this country in October 2001.

During his first tenure as prime minister, from 1981 to 2003, Dr Mahathir visited China seven times, and nine more times after he retired.

Dr Mahathir's landmark visit to China, at the invitation of Li, is expected to strengthen bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, especially in the areas of politics, trade, investment, agriculture, technology and regional security.

Present were Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim, Internation Trade and Industry Minister Ignatius Darell Leiking, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and senior government officials.

Dr Mahathir is scheduled to attend a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse later this afternoon.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived in Hangzhou on Friday and was welcomed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (BERNAMA)

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