Citizens’ frustrations, Malaysian youths worry about future; MCA dares to face criticism


Citizen Liow’ plays dual role in National Day video
Myself and I: Citizen Liow (left) comes face-to-face with the politician in ‘Citizens’ in conjunction with National Day.

Malaysia is all about us – On The Beat

‘Citizen Liow’ vents his frustration in short film

KUALA LUMPUR: It is Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai as we have never seen him before – shabby, dispirited and a little rude.

Without his signature full-rim spectacles, Liow, playing an ordinary citizen in a video with a poignant but powerful message, vents his spleen about the country’s current mood.

From the hurtful balik tongsan comment to corrupt practices, Citizen Liow is determined to get his frustrations off his chest.

He even throws a fistful of sweets at a guest in his home. The guest is also played by Liow, who essentially portrays his everyday role of a politician.

The on-screen sparring between both Liows is a creative, yet brutally frank, account of the general sentiments of the local Chinese community.

It is almost painful to watch the heated encounter, but that is exactly why the six minute-long video Citizens is so compelling.

Producers Pete Teo and Liew Seng Tat did not attempt to paint a rosy and glowing picture even though the clip was meant for the upcoming National Day celebrations.

The video boldly addresses the grievances and fears of the Chinese community in Malaysia, which means there will inevitably be “anger, helplessness and conflict”, as Teo explained on his Facebook.

Liow, in his real life as Transport Minister, Bentong MP and especially MCA president, must have often been at the receiving end of the kind of harsh comments hurled by “Citizen Liow” in the clip.

“Politicians only know how to talk!” is perhaps the most common sweeping statement that disregards the efforts and contributions of community and government leaders. In the video, Liow the politician admits there are shortcomings.

The seasoned politician says: “I can find excuses and try to defend ourselves by saying that circumstances do not work in our favour, but no, I won’t do that.”

“We didn’t say there weren’t mistakes. We did not handle many things well, but it is not easy to rule a country.”

“We have seen many politicians from both sides dwelling on the negatives when support for them fades. This alienates the people even further,” he said.

With the National Day just days away, the video is a timely reminder to those with political ambitions to reflect on their vision for the country.

Similarly, the public can look back at the past 60 years of the country’s development, from a mining and agricultural-based economy to today’s multi-sector economy anchored in manufacturing and services.

Of course, there will always be challenges and sacrifices as we progress. Good governance is a must if we are to continue on that path of growth and prosperity.

But as Citizens reminds us, it is important not to lose hope. We must believe that our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman’s vision of Malaysia will come true.

At the end of the video, “Citizen Liow” has a change of heart. He quietly retrieves the Jalur Gemilang from storage and displays it on his balcony, with his real-life wife Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo at his side.

When met by reporters yesterday, Liow was visibly pleased with how the video has turned out. He said the message he wanted to send through the video was for Malaysians to unite and work together to make the country a progressive nation.

“We love this nation. We are proud to be Malaysians and we are working hard to make this country a stronger nation. That’s the aspiration and message we want to send out,” he said.

By Tho Xin Yi The Star/ANN

‘Youths worry about future, not politics’

Future wave: Liow and Chong (second from left) sharing a light moment with students after the TN50 DialogueUTAR in the Sungai Long Campus.

CHERAS: Youths are more concerned about their future than politics. This is the feedback gathered during the recent TN50 dialogues with students from several universities, said MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

“However, I don’t think they are indifferent towards politics. They are aware of issues.

“For instance, they know that this is about TN50 and about a future that they want,” Liow said after attending a TN50 Dialogue @UTAR with 700 students at UTAR Sungai Long Campus here yesterday.

He cited education and health issues, including the ability to earn a decent living, as some of the aspirations raised by the students during the hour-long dialogue session.

Liow said it is crucial for youths to continue upholding the core value system practised by Barisan Nasional.

He added that Barisan’s core values such as consensus, mutual respect, unity, cooperation and harmony are shared by Malaysians.

“Barisan upholds values of consensus and mutual respect but DAP is sowing the seeds of hatred. The party is also sowing the seeds of anger towards the Government which is causing a split in our society,” he said.

Liow added that the Opposition lacked the core values and was now in a chaotic state.

There was a casual air about the dialogue session where students were asked by moderator MCA youth chief Datuk Chong Sin Woon to address Liow as “Ah Liow” and himself as “Ah Chong”.

Earlier during the dialogue, Chong warned students to be wary of fake news on social media.

“The reality is that most news on social media are fake.

“You should check the source and not blindly believe all that you read,” he said.

He also said that youths were more concerned about “bread and butter” issues rather that politics.

At another function, Liow said more skilled workers were needed as the country progresses.

“It is important for us to train more technical professionals. For MCA, we would like to expand VTAR Institute because of our significant growth in students from 100 to 700 in these few years.

“We will find the right place to expand VTAR and we hope to have more than 1,000 students here,” he told reporters after launching the PW2 wireman competency licence course at the institute in Setapak here yesterday.

VTAR is the vocational education arm of MCA.

Earlier during the function, VTAR CEO Tan Cheng Liang signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Malaysian Electrical Appliances Dealers Association (Fomeda) president Gan Cheng Swee to run the PW2 programme. – The Star

‘Citizen Liow’ plays dual role in National Day video

国民 CITIZENS

A screengrab from the video short “Citizens”.

PETALING JAYA: You’re not seeing double – it really is Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai playing two roles in a National Day video by producers Pete Teo and Liew Seng Tat.

The six minute-long video short entitled Citizens was released on Monday in conjunction with the upcoming National Day celebrations.

In the video, he portrays himself in his everyday role as Transport Minister, having a no-holds-barred conversation with a citizen who has grouses about the way the country is run – a role also played by Liow.

Liow, the minister, is smartly dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and slacks, while “Citizen Liow” is dressed very casually, with his hair a little unkempt and wearing a grey T-shirt, without spectacles.

Teo, in a Facebook post on Friday, said the project took months to put together.

“Largely this was because the script required a Federal Minister who had the gumption to submit to what we wanted to shoot.

“We kept trying and eventually found our man,” he said.

Teo said they did not want to make a film that could be confused for a “tourism video.”

Citizens reflects the current mood of the country, especially the fears of the Chinese community.

“It would therefore have to contain anger, helplessness and conflict. Yet it must contain hope – for we are even now not without hope – and so the film should also unite us in hope across the political spectrum,” said Teo.

This is not Liow’s first film. He previously acted in other 15Malaysia and Hari Malaysia shorts, also produced by Teo.

“What is different this time is that while he was civilly treated as a cabinet minister before, he will be brutalised this time; and while he was stereotyped as a politician before, he is now a human being – filled with the same fears, regret, conflicts and hope as all of us,” said Teo, adding that he thought long and hard about the casting.

Also making an appearance in the film is Liow’s wife Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo.

Teo said that it took courage for Liow, who is MCA president, to act in the film especially since he and MCA “are deeply maligned in sections of the Chinese community”.

‘Citizens’ Liow trends at second spot

PETALING JAYA: As Pete Teo expected, his National Day video in which Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai plays two roles is gaining traction among Malaysians.

The six-minute clip Citizens clinched the second spot on YouTube’s Malaysian trending list as at yesterday afternoon. It had 127,766 views, trailing Taylor Swift’s new music video. The rest were content related to SEA Games.

In the video, Liow, 56, portrays himself as the Transport Minister having an honest conversation with a citizen, also played by Liow, who has grouses about the way the country is run.

Teo, who produced the video with Liew Seng Tat, was glad to see it attracting attention.

“We expect the video to do well, because we think it is a good video and it has something important to say that goes beyond party politics,” he told The Star.

Teo said there were twice as many likes as dislikes.

He applauded Liow for being able to rise above his persona as MCA president and act as an ordinary citizen.

The video was released on Monday in conjunction with National Day celebrations.

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah said the video was “unpretentious and right to the point” and therefore, was well received by the community.

The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) president said it rightly captured the country’s current situation.

“A main point stressed is that the situation warrants the need for us to listen to each other, consolidate our strengths, stay united and be loyal to our country.

“This is a way to overcome the challenges, instead of just venting our frustrations,” Pheng said.

Apart from acknowledging the people’s disappointments and empathising with them, he said Liow had been tirelessly reaching out to the community to guide and help them in whatever ways possible.

Pheng pointed out that Liow had to draw on the party’s strengths and his role in the Government to help the community effectively.

In conjunction with National Day, Pheng said it was timely for all Malaysians to reinforce respect, love and tolerance among themselves and for the country so as to move forward together.

‘Citizen’ producer all praise for Liow – Nation


PETALING JAYA: The producer of the National Day video titled Citizen says it was brave of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to come onboard a production which had an “edgy” script.

Saying he would absolutely cast the Transport Minister in such a role again, filmmaker Pete Teo (pic) brushed aside some of the adverse comments on the casting choice.

“We think he did a great job playing the dual role of minister and citizen.

“That his casting is controversial has nothing to do with the job he does.

“We hope Datuk Seri Liow’s contribution will at least be acknowledged in the good spirit that it was given,” Teo said when contacted.

Teo, who produced the clip with writer-director Liew Seng Tat, said they had expected some form of backlash as soon as they decided that the role would be best played by a real-life politician.

“The fact that we eventually cast a Barisan National politician is besides the point, really. If we had picked an Opposition politician, the situation would be the same, except the accusations would be from Barisan supporters.

“So in a way, it was a no-win for us unless we had cast an actor,” he pointed out.

According to Teo, the film would have lost immediacy if they had cast an actor to play the role.

“So the decision was made to cast a politician. In fact, our choices were more limited than that because the script ideally required a Federal Minister.

“This narrowed down the choice to only several people. In the end, Datuk Seri Liow agreed to play the role and we went with him,” he added.

Teo said through the film, he and Liew wanted to drive home the message that it was important not to lose hope and to stay united when the going got tough.

“As said in the film’s opening lines, the last decade or more have been tough for the country. Non-Malay communities, in particular have felt alienated, helpless and fearful.

“That is why we are getting such hyper-emotive response to a Merdeka PSA film promoting hope and unity featuring a serving Cabinet minister from the MCA.

It would be easy to dismiss these aggressive social media outbursts as rantings of opposition cybertroopers, but these are real people with real grievances,’’ he added.

Teo, a multiple award-winning singer-songwriter, also praised Liow for having the courage to be involved in a film with “brutally frank dialogue”.

“Many have ignored the fact that the minister explicitly said in the film that he doesn’t mind who citizens voted for as long as they let their conscience be their guide.

“This is a massively important statement. It underlines our film’s non-partisan credentials,” Teo said.

In the six-minute video, Liow portrays himself in his everyday role as Transport Minister, having a no-holds barred conversation with a citizen who has grouses about the way the country is run – a role also played by Liow.

The video clocked in more than 200,000 views in four days since it was uploaded on YouTube.

 

‘MCA dares to face criticisms’ , Liow: We understand the voices and feelings of the people

 

Liow chatting with China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang.

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA understands the voices and feelings of the people and dares to face criticism, said Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The party president said having understood the people’s grievances, MCA is committed to overcoming the problems.

“I must stress here that I am aware of the people’s opinions and feelings. Therefore, I am willing to face the reality as I know that is the only way for us to change for the better,” he said.

Liow, speaking at the Blossom Arts Festival Malaysia (BAFM) 2017 awards ceremony and closing at Wisma MCA last night, was responding to some of the responses towards his double role in “Citizens”, a National Day video.

In the clip produced by Pete Teo and Liew Seng Tat, Liow portrays himself as the Transport Minister having an honest conversation with a citizen, also played by Liow, who has grouses about the way the country is run.

Liow also explained that the video aimed at telling people to have faith in the country and never give up, besides showcasing the inner voices of a Cabinet minister and a layman.

Liow added that MCA is steadfast in performing its role in Barisan Nasional.

“We will continue to be the defender of the Federal Constitution, the corrector and the balancing force against hegemony.

“History would reveal that during critical moments, be it fighting for citizenship, persistency on multi-stream education, pushing for the establishment of National Economic Action Council or the recent movement against PAS’ Private Member’s Bill to amend Act 355, MCA has been consistent in playing its role in Barisan,” he said.

Meanwhile, MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said the next edition of BAFM would be put on hold pending the general election.

“My comrades and I, as well as MCA staff, must turn our full attention towards preparing for the coming general election,” Chew, who is also the Malaysian Chinese Culture and Arts Consultative Council chairman and BAFM organising chairman, said.

Big celebration: Drummers performing during the closing ceremony of the Blossom Arts Festival Malaysia at Wisma MCA. (Right) Liow chatting with China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang.

She said BAFM has received the attention of foreign academicians.

Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, for instance, sent professors and students to observe the event, she added.

“If we persevere, we are confident of becoming a household name and a premier event among artists,” she said in her speech.

The month-long BAFM concluded yesterday. Also present at the event was China’s ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang.

By Yimie Yong The Star Online

Related Links:

PM: Chinese not ‘pendatang’, but loyal citizens

Head to Bentong to refresh your lungs

Ti: ‘Citizens’ parody shows DAP’s true face – Nation

Merdeka video not meant to offend anyone

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Enough is enough, Penang govt told – Nation

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Extraordinary man from Middle Kingdom


 Dr. Huang Huikang

China’s top representative in Malaysia has made waves in a way that has earned much respect albeit with  raised eyebrows at times

DR Huang Huikang (pic) is no ordinary ambassador. This Chinese envoy has become one of the most-watched diplomats in Malaysia.

As China’s ambassador to Malaysia, he represents his country in important government and political functions here and works hard to promote bilateral ties, trade and investment between the two nations.

Like his predecessors, he mingles well with local Chinese leaders, praising the community for its sacrifices and devotion made over the decades in the development of Chinese education in Malaysia.

But unlike his low-key predecessors, this diplomat hands out cash donations to Chinese schools in a high-profile manner and celebrates Chinese New Year with locals.

The 62-year-old doctorate holder in international law and former law professor, who began his posting here in January 2014, has the poise of an envoy but stands out among his peers with his unconventional mannerism. While other ambassadors are usually more measured in their statements, he does not hesitate to make comments that may raise anxiety.

At official functions, Dr Huang is addressed as “ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary” – an ambassador’s official title in full. This may be no exaggeration.

Having served as vice mayor of Tangshan in Hebei province and completed stints as deputy consul-general in New York and minister counsellor-cum-deputy chief at China’s embassy in Ottawa, Dr Huang is a seasoned spokesman for China.

Late last year, he was re-elected as a member of the International Law Commission at the United Nations.

Here are snapshots of Dr Huang:

Role in vast investments

The role played by Dr Huang in bringing in large Chinese investments has put him in good stead.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit here in 2015 was crucial to Malaysia and the Middle Kingdom.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visited China in November last year, Dr Huang was also seen in Beijing. The trip resulted in the signing of deals and investments totalling RM144bil.

Of late, there has been quite a number of visits by China’s central departments, provinces and cities here to promote trade and forge closer ties.

The influence of Dr Huang is pervasive.

When China’s investments in Malaysia came under attack by some opposition politicians, he crafted a strongly-worded statement to these unnamed politicians, explaining how China could help the local economy and its people. But to these naysayers, China is stealing jobs, eating into the economic pie and depriving opportunities to small and medium businesses.

Once, during a nationwide tour of Malaysia, he cautioned that “slander, vilification and obstruction” could dampen the enthusiasm of Chinese firms.

Chinese investments in Malaysia

With investments from China coming to Malaysia in a never-seen-before scale, particularly under China’s Belt and Road initiative, Dr Huang has hinted that Malaysia should not take all this for granted.

Chinese enterprises are encouraged to venture into Malaysia because of the close ties between the two countries, he said.

Dr Huang spoke of how China would share the benefits from its economic growth with Malaysia, citing technology transfer and job creation.

Malaysian industries could become world class if they adopt advanced technology, he said.

Though not an economist, he predicted that the value ofthe Ringgit would rise in line with the increased foreign trade and foreign reserves.

To a large extent, Dr Huang’s remarks reflected China’s confidence as a superpower and its responsibilities on the global stage.

Even DAP – after criticising MCA for acting like “China’s agent” with the setting up of the Belt and Road Centre and MCA People’s Republic of China (PRC) Affairs Committee – paid Dr Huang a courtesy call in February.

And Dr Huang, ever the gracious, told the delegation that bilateral cooperation transcended political parties and race.

In the limelight

Dr Huang has gained substantial coverage in the Malaysian media, particularly in the Chinese dailies.

Last year, Dr Huang contributed RM40,000 to eight SJK (C) schools in Sembrong, Johor. Early this year, he gave RM100,000 to five schools in Nilai and Seremban, and another RM200,000 to 10 Chinese primary schools and one secondary school in Raub, Pahang.

While the recipients were grateful to him and possibly China, some saw this gesture as China flexing its financial muscle.

As usual, Dr Huang took it in his stride. He said the embassy would continue to support the development of Chinese education here.

More recently, he went on a high-profile trip within peninsular Malaysia to visit projects with Chinese investments, covering Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Kedah, Malacca and Johor.

His visits were splashed across the Chinese dailies. The spotlight trained on Dr Huang has led to much feedback.

A Chinese community leader told Sunday Star: “He is grabbing so much limelight, even more than our own ministers.”

And a senior government official felt that it was “as though he is a politician on a campaign trail seeking re-election, or attempting to claim credit for the projects.”


Chinatown controversy

He did a Chinatown walkabout a day before the planned “Red Shirt” rally in September 2015 when a group led by Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos threatened a riot at the predominantly-Chinese trading area in Kuala Lumpur.

Accompanied by his wife, Dr Huang distributed mooncakes to the traders for the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration.

He told the media that China was against anyone resorting to violence to disrupt public order and that he would not stand idle if the interests of China’s citizens and firms were undermined. To him, it would be “a waste” if the harmony among the races in the area was jeopardised. However, his remarks were seen by some as an interference in Malaysia’s domestic affairs.

With all his fascinating activities and remarks, the diary of this diplomat will continue to come under the public microscope in the days to come.

Source: The Star by Tho Xin Yi

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China’s envoy to Malaysia visits Petaling Street day before rally …

 

Jong-un.

Malaysia-China way to South China Sea disputes: a model of amicable consultations


Taking the cue from both China’s and Malaysia’s approach to South China Sea disputes.

 


Dialogue 06/05/2016 South China Sea & Sino-US ties – CCTV News – CCTV.com English

RECENTLY, the South China Sea disputes had been hyped up as a hotspot issue in regional security and discussed in almost every regional and international forum, resulting from the high-profile interference of and the manipulation by some powers outside the region.

In fact, this issue should be solved through negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned.

Furthermore, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which has never been affected, has been misinterpreted by some country as “freedom exclusive to its own military vessels and planes” and flexing its muscles.

The illegal arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines has been labelled as a “benchmark of law-ruling” by the West, suggesting that judicial settlement is the only way to solve disputes in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the approach of non-conflicting and friendly consultation has been overshadowed by the noise and chaos.

One day, a friend of mine asked me, is Malaysia a claimant in the South China Sea? If yes, why is the Malaysia-China and Philippines-China relations poles apart? This is indeed a good question.

There is no essential difference between the two pairs of ties.

As China’s close neighbours, Malaysia and the Philippines have enjoyed traditional friendship with China.

Both were the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China among Asean states. However, while the Malaysia-China relationship is “at the best time of history” and on the path to a new era of “Diamond 40 Years”, the Philippines-China relationship is experiencing severe difficulties.

The reason behind such a striking contrast lies in the different ways the two claimants chose to deal with the disputes with China.

While Malaysia has consistently been committed to maintaining friendly relationship, properly handling disputes, strengthening cooperation and enhancing comprehensive strategic partnership with China, the Philippine president Benigno Aquino III, on the contrary, misjudged the international situation, acted as a pawn of an outsider’s geopolitical strategy, and chose to confront China.

China and Malaysia Set a Model of Amicable Consultations

China and Malaysia enjoy a time-honoured friendship. There are lots of historical records in China about the Malay peninsula since the Tang and Song Dynasties.

In the 15th century, the Ming Dynasty established close relations with the Sultanate of Malacca. Over 600 years ago, Admiral Zheng He stationed at Malacca five times during seven voyages.

He promoted friendship, developed trade and maintained justice in the area. From Admiral Zheng, people have learned the essence of Chinese culture where peace and good neighbourliness always come first.

They do believe that China has no gene of expansion, plunder or aggression. Instead, China can be a trustworthy friend and reliable partner of Malaysia.

Then Prime Minister Tun Razak first adjusted the policy on China 42 years ago with strategic insight among Asean leaders in the context of the Cold War.

He went to China for “an ice-breaking trip” and signed the Communiqué of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with Premier Zhou Enlai which opened a new chapter in bilateral relations. Since then, China and Malaysia have helped each other and overcome many difficulties hand in hand.

The relations between the two countries have taken a lead in China’s relations with Asean countries and set a model of friendship in the region.

After four decades, bilateral relations between China and Malaysia are full of vitality and stimulus with deeper mutual trust, frequent high-level visits, constant party-to-party and local exchanges and fruitful cooperation.

China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner for seven years and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in Asean for eight years, and sixth largest in the world.

The bilateral trade volume has reached US$100bil (RM407.5bil). There are also many iconic cooperation projects.

The high-tech cooperation has reached the skies and seas. Malaysia has long been a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Consulates-general in Kota Kinabalu and Penang and Nanning have been set up. The Malay Studies Centre was established in the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Confucius Institutes were set up in Universiti Malaya and Segi University.

Xiamen University Malaysia Campus welcomed its first batch of students this year. Pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang settled in Zoo Negara and gave birth to a baby panda named “Nuan Nuan”, reflecting our heartwarming bond.

Bilateral cooperation in finance, technology, defence and other fields is also striding forward. The seed sowed by the leaders has grown into a flourishing tree, blossomed and yielded fruits.

It is normal for neighbours to have differences and problems. Malaysia is one of the claimants in the South China Sea.

However, this has never hindered the development of our relations. The key is that the leaders of both countries weigh the situation in the perspective of history and experiences, recognise the trend of the world and always place cooperation and mutual development as a priority.

The leaders have frequently exchanged views on the issue of the South China Sea and reached a series of important consensus.

Both sides agree to deal with disputes through friendly consultations and dialogues, avoiding the issue of sabotaging the bilateral relations.

Furthermore, both China and Malaysia object to intervention by forces outside the region. When the Philippines was unilaterally pursuing the South China Sea arbitration case in May 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib revisited China to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

During the visit, the Joint Communiqué signed by the leaders reaffirmed a series of important consensus.

Both sides emphasised that “all sovereign states directly concerned shall exercise self-restraint and settle their differences by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations, and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.”

Both sides recognised that “intervention or involvement of parties not directly concerned could be counter-productive and further complicate the aforementioned differences.”

It is based on such consensus that the two sides have properly managed their differences, pushed forward their relations, benefited the two peoples and set a good example for regional countries in dealing with disputes.

Unilateral Arbitration is a Wrong Option

The Philippines’ conduct was contrary to Malaysia’s friendly and proper handling of the disputes with China.

In recent years, President Aquino abandoned the commitment of the former government, relied on a superpower to hype up the disputes in the South China Sea, and insisted on confronting China.

He became world “famous” as the arbitration case is a farce. When his term ends, apart from the severe consequences of undermining the China-Philippines traditional friendship, his political legacy will only be piles of bills from the tribunal.

China and the Philippines have a long history of friendly exchanges. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1975, only one year after China and Malaysia.

Until 2012 when the Philippines deliberately stirred up the Huangyandao Incident and went on a path of confrontation, relations between the two countries had developed soundly and stably with fruitful cooperation in various fields which brought tangible benefits to their two peoples.

For instance, it was China and the Philippines that first launched joint maritime seismic undertaking which became a precious endeavour in the South China Sea.

The two sides launched friendly negotiations and achieved positive outcome in establishing dialogue mechanism, carrying out pragmatic cooperation and promoting joint development.

During President Arroyo’s visit to China in 2007, both sides praised the relations between two countries as a “golden era”.

It is deeply regrettable that on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines relations in 2015, the bilateral ties were upset by the arbitration case, instead of entering a “diamond era” from the “golden era” as China and Malaysia has.

Compared with the breadth, depth and warmth of the friendly interaction between China and Malaysia, shouldn’t the Philippines introspect itself?

As a Chinese old saying goes, “close neighbors are more important than remote relatives.” Forces outside the region may come and go whenever they want, but China and Philippines are neighbours that cannot move away from each other.

As a country committed to regional peace and stability as well as promoting economic development, China sincerely welcomes all the regional countries to take a ride together for deeper mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

The Philippines’ inflexibility on the arbitration case will only sacrifice its own opportunities and interest.

Amicable Consultation is the Only Way Out

People in littoral states along the South China Sea have lived for a long time in peace and harmony, ready to help each other when in need. Although in the 1960s and 1970s, some changes took place and new problems emerged, China and Asean states have consistently engaged in dialogues and communication and maintained overall peace and stability at sea without interference from powers outside the region.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and Asean in 2002 has played an indispensable role.

Even if the South China Sea issue heats up, China will still stick to settling disputes through negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way. China has also proposed the “Dual Track Approach”, that is, the relevant disputes should be solved by the sovereign states directly concerned through consultation and negotiation, and that peace and stability in the South China Sea should be maintained through joint efforts of China and Asean member states.

The approach is in full accordance with international laws and practices, and has been supported by most of the Asean countries including Malaysia and Brunei which are also claimants in the South China Sea.

History will prove again that friendly consultation is the right way to settle the disputes in the South China Sea.

China is strongly opposed to the unilateral action by the Philippines and China’s position of non-acceptance and non-participation in the arbitration case will not change.

The new Philippine Government should discard illusions and return to the right track. As a matter of fact, Malaysia and Brunei have already set good examples.

Just as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated, the arbitration case is a knot that has impeded the improvement and development of China-Philippines relations.

As to how to untie the knot, it depends on the Philippines. China wishes that the new Philippine Government will make a wise choice in consideration to improving the relations and enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation between the Philippines and China.

The Philippines should cease its arbitral proceedings, refuse to be a pawn anymore and return to bilateral negotiation with China.

China is standing ready to commit itself to full and effective implementation of the DOC and making continuous efforts with all relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Dr. Huang Huikang

The writer is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

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