Malaysian Prime Minister Addullah Ahmad Badawi launched an exhibition titled "Envoy of Peace from China" Tuesday night, in commemoration of the great Chinese maritime explorer Zheng He.
This year marks the 600th anniversary of the western voyages of Zheng He who led huge fleets of Chinese ships on seven major expeditions from 1405 to 1433, establishing mutually beneficial trade and diplomatic relations with over 30 Asian and African countries and regions.
Zheng He came to Malacca not to conquer the land or impose hegemony there, but for the purpose of building friendship and conducting trade, Badawi said in his opening speech.
He also thanked former Prime Minister Abdul Razak for taking the first step to establish diplomatic relations with China 31 years ago.
The Sino-Malaysia relations are now strategic, strong and beneficial, Badawi said.
Zheng He, who visited Malacca at least five times during his seven major expeditions, was the founder and witness of the profound friendship between China and Malaysia, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Wang Chungui said.
"I believe that, as long as we take the road of peace and friendship as paved by Zheng He, China and Malaysia will be good neighbors, good partners and good friends for ever," Wang said.
Jointly sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Malaysian Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, the exhibition highlights the spirit of peace and friendship embodied in Zheng He and expresses China's wish to carry out dialogue and exchanges with all other countries in the world.
Malaysia is the first stop for the global commemorative activities. The exhibition will also be staged in Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and East Africa in two or three years, tracing the routes that Zheng's voyages covered 600 years ago.
Present at the opening ceremony were more than 1,000 delegates, comprising Chinese and Malaysian officials, delegates from foreign missions based in Kuala Lumpur and people from various communities of Malaysia.
(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2005)