Trade with China

Speech by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr Lim Kit Siang, at the fourth anniversary celebration of the Muar DAP Branch on Monday, 30th August 1971 at 8pm

If Malaysia wants to exploit to the full trade with China, she must establish diplomatic relation with the People’s Republic of China

The China trade mission has come and gone with an agreement to buy 40,000 tons of rubber, 5,000 tons of palm oil and 50,000 cubic metres of timber logs.

While these are not huge figures, the DAP welcomes the fact that Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China are embarking on more proper trade relations.

But whether Malaysia will be able to build on this very small beginning and exploit to the fullest trade with China will depend on several factors.

The most important of these will be the state of formal relationship between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China.

The Malaysian government has hitherto adopted the attitude that Malaysia is only interested in trade with China, and is not interested in diplomatic relations.

This is a great fallacy and misunderstanding of international relations and trade.

Although trade between countries without diplomatic relations can and do take place, such trade is not the maximum trade achievable between the countries concerned.

In other words, although recent exchange of unofficial trade missions between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China has started a new patter of trade relationship. Malaysia cannot fully exploit the trade and potential market of China without diplomatic relations with Peking.

Malaysia is over dependent on her primary produce, like rubber, oil palm and timber, and the recent fall in their prices, in particular that of rubber, has highlighted the vulnerability and weakness of such and economy. With the sharp drop in the prices of these primary commodities, it is imperative that Malaysia seek out new markets.

There is no doubt that in the world today, the greatest potential market is the People’s Republic of China, with her population of 800 million people. If we are to realize the full potential of the Malaysia-China trade, Malaysia must take the initiative towards the establishment of diplomatic relations with China.

The China Premier, Mr Chou En Lai, has conveyed his greetings to the Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak through the Chinese trade mission.

The Chinese government has many a time declared its wishes to be friends with all nations of the world on the basis of mutual respect of each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and equality of relations.

Malaysia should therefore take positive steps to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, which will remove Malaysia’s great dependence on Western and American markets and economies.

I therefore call on the Prime Minister, who has announced that he will lead the Malaysian delegation to the United Nation’s General Assembly in the latter part of September, to take the opportunity of his appearance before the world body to announce Malaysia’s preparedness to enter into discussion with a view towards establishment of diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China.

In return for People’s Republic of China’s respect for Malaysia’s territorial integrity and independence, Malaysia should reciprocate and respect China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, which means that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.