Sunday May 30, 2004

PM opens new embassy

NEW LANDMARK: Abdullah watering a tree to mark the opening of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing yesterday. Among those who attended the ceremony were Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar and Datuk Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis.
BEIJING: The Chancery, which the sprawling Malaysian Embassy complex is called, was officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday, making it the latest landmark in the city.
The RM70mil building, on a 13,000sq metre area, is located in the Chaoyang district, which has been marked for new embassy buildings.
Embassy staff moved into the complex, which resembles a traditional Malay house, two years ago.
It was officially opened yesterday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.
The Malaysian Government decided to upgrade its diplomatic premises here because, said Abdullah: “Malaysia attaches a great deal of importance to its relations with China.”
Besides a chancellery, the complex has a six-storey residential complex with 27 apartments for its staff.
In the last decade, he said, Malaysia had opened up consulates in Guangzhou, Shanghai and in Kunming.
The Government also has a consulate-general in Hong Kong.
The Prime Minister unveiled a commemorative plaque at the embassy and planted a tree in the embassy grounds to mark the occasion.
Later, he visited the Beijing Foreign Studies University, the largest foreign language institution in China.
The university has a Malay Studies Centre, which was opened in 1997, to carry out research in the Malay language.
Abdullah said Malaysia had agreed to set up a Malay studies chair at the university.
He also launched an anthology of Malay and Chinese poems by the late Usman Awang and Chen Haosu at the university, which is hosting a seminar on Malay-Chinese relations.

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