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Najib following in dad's footsteps
Updated: 2009-06-01 14:43

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will pay an official visit to China from June 2 to 5 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, his first official trip to China as prime minister.

It would be understandable if he is overwhelmed with emotion. After all, he will be in the historic footsteps of his father and second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who had the foresight to initiate links with this economic powerhouse,Malaysia Star reported.

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In 1974, Tun Razak became the first Asean head to visit Beijing and establish diplomatic relations. Thirty five years later, his son returns as Malaysia’s sixth prime minister to renew and strengthen ties.

The parallels are significant. Five years ago, speaking on the importance of his father’s achievement, Najib said: “The significant improvement in Malaysia-China relations symbolise the prudence of putting aside differences and concentrating on the commonalities in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.”

Today, China has become an economic superpower and an important trading partner of Malaysia. Bilateral trade between the two nations totalled US$39.6billion last year. China is currently Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner.

In the joint communique signed by Tun Razak and Chinese premier Zhou Enlai, on May 31, 1974, trade was not even mentioned. When Najib meets Chinese President Hu Jintao, however, that will be the foremost thing on the agenda besides strengthening cultural and people to people ties.