Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will pay an official visit to China from August 17 to 21 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced Monday.
Earlier this month, Mahathir met with visiting Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister, making preparations for his upcoming official visit to China. The 93-year-old Malaysian leader called for closer ties with China, reiterating his support for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
"An increasingly stronger China means more and bigger opportunities for Malaysia," Mahathir said.
On Wang's part, he said that Mahathir's visit to China will build an even stronger relationship between China and Malaysia, as he "has always been a good friend to China".
Wang also said that China is happy to see the new phenomenon after Mohamad took power and has confidence that Malaysia will play a more active role on the international stage.
In a letter to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Mahathir said that Malaysia welcomes investment from Chinese enterprises, especially high-tech firms.
Economic ties between the two sides have improved greatly over the years. In fact, China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for nine consecutive years since 2009. And in 2017, Malaysia was China's ninth largest trading partner and the second largest among other ASEAN countries.
Wang also met with Malaysia's Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali, Minister of Transport Anthony Loke and members of the Council of Elders, led by the council's chairman Daim Zainuddin during his two-day visit ahead of the China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum in Singarpore.