Is there less grandeur for Anwar to meet President Xi Jinping in person compared to King Salman?

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would have set foot on the capital of Asia’s two major civilisations when he touches down in Beijing later today to commence his three-day official visit to China.

With so much brouhaha having emanated from his recently-concluded Saudi Arabia official trip, one wonders if the Opposition – again – has something up their sleeves to undermine or shame the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman who is making his maiden visit to this East Asian country since taking office last November.

Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal claimed that he has exhausted all avenues to prove allegations that Anwar’s Saudi trip was both a failure and wastage at the Dewan Rakyat after the Tambun MP was unable to meet Saudi ruler King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince-cum-PM Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The Machang MP even masterminded a grilling session during the PM’s weekly Question Time (PMQT) session on Tuesday (March 28), only for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) three top guns – Opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, PN chairman/Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang – to ‘chicken’ out.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrives in China to attend the Boao Annual Forum for Asia in Hainan yesterday (March 29)

With President Xi Jinping assuming office for an unprecedented third term on March 9 – capping an ascent in which he has become China’s most powerful leader in generations as how The Guardian has described him – Anwar’s visit is ‘strategically timely’ in that he is also one of the first world leaders to visit Beijing following Xi’s re-appointment.

Anwar who is slated to arrive in Beijing this evening (March 30) after attending the Boao Annual Forum for Asia in Hainan will undo his failure to meet up with King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by rubbing shoulders with the second most powerful man in the world today – both militarily and economically.

The PKR president is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Xi tomorrow (March 31) where discussions will focus on new steps that can be taken in various fields to boost and strengthen bilateral relations.

“They will also discuss concrete measures that can be taken in the field of trade, political cooperation, prevention of corruption, and civilisational issues,” Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir summed up.

This will be followed by a meeting with the Chairman of the National People’s Congress Zhao Leji where the discussion will focus on cooperation at the parliamentarian level of both countries.

On Saturday (April 1) evening, Anwar will be accorded an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People by Chinese Premier Li Qiang which will be followed by a bilateral meeting.

Investment-wise, at least 14 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) related to trade and agriculture will be signed between Putrajaya and Beijing.

Apart from Zambry, the Malaysian delegates comprised International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009. The value of trade between Malaysia and China in 2022 has reached 17.1% of Malaysia’s total global trade worth RM2.8 tril.

The total trade between the two countries in 2022 was RM487.13 bil which is an increase of 15.6% compared to the previous year.

So how could President Xi Jinping pale in comparison to King Salman when the former was greeted with a lavish reception in Riyadh on Dec 8 last year by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, followed by a meeting with King Salman himself the next day in his “epoch-making milestone” in China’s relations with the Arab world? – March 30, 2023


Main pic credit: China’s Permanent Mission to UN

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