PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hosted an official luncheon in honour of visiting Premier Li Qiang of China, at Seri Perdana today.

Li, who is here for a three-day official visit, arrived at the prime minister’s official residence at 12.38 pm.

Apart from the Chinese delegation, the luncheon was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu and Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming.

Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Earlier, Li and Anwar held a meeting at Perdana Putra to strengthen bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

The two leaders also witnessed the exchange of several memorandums of understanding and agreements in various areas of cooperation including digital economy, green development, tourism, housing and urbanisation development, higher education, science and technology and the export of agricommodities to China.

This marked Li’s first trip to Malaysia since assuming office in March last year.

His visit coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, following the signing of the Joint Statement between second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and then Premier Chou En Lai on May 31, 1974.

In 2023, China remains Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years since 2009, with a trade volume of RM450.84 billion (US$98.90 billion).

Malaysia’s diplomatic relations with China have strengthened since the upgrading of bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2013.