Malaysia and China will establish a series of cooperative projects in the future including railway, industrial parks as well as ports as part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative, reports Bernama.
Before the introduction of the MSR, China and ASEAN had been carrying out a series of cooperative projects together, including the twin parks namely Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, Liu Jinsong, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Last year, Chinese leaders repeatedly proposed making 2015 the year of ASEAN-China maritime cooperation. This is not entirely new – ASEAN and China have been talking about how to foster maritime cooperation for a while now, with Beijing unveiling a China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund in 2011.
But 2015 was supposed to mark a landmark year that would highlight ASEAN-China cooperation this area and tie it in with the development of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
"We believe the ten-member bloc will be the first to benefit from the initiative," Liu said, adding there would be plenty of opportunities for ASEAN and China to work together to jointly build the MSR.
On the intention behind the MSR's funds worth US$40 billion, Liu said it was to finance major infrastructure projects along the centuries-old trading routes.
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had earlier raised questions on China's intentions behind the MSR fund.
As early as 2013, Beijing announced that Xiamen University would start a branch school in the Malaysian capital
of Kuala Lumpur, and that the China-ASEAN Ocean College would be opened as part of that.
Meanwhile, China assures the world that it is not seeking to assert its dominance through its Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, known collectively as Belt and Road.
Luo Yuze, associate research fellow at the Foreign Economic Relations Department of State Council’s Development Research Centre, said China has pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, not to seek dominance and not to establish sphere of influence.