BEIJING: Good memories flowed back when Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail stepped into Diaoyutai State Guesthouse here.

This is where she stayed with her family when she came 25 years ago.

In 1994, she was accompanying her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was the deputy prime minister as he embarked on his official visit to China.

Twenty-five years have passed and Dr Wan Azizah returned as the second-in-command of the country herself.

Yesterday, she revisited the bungalow at the guesthouse at the special arrangement of Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan.

The Deputy Prime Minister arrived here on Monday for her first official visit to China at the invitation of Sun and the two leaders met for a bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai bungalow.

“All the good memories are in my mind now. My four children were with us, we visited the Great Wall and other places.

“I told Sun that I am glad to see China has made great achievements over the past two-and-a-half decades,” she said.

Sun, according to Dr Wan Azizah, expressed her appreciation to the Malaysian government for viewing the importance of the strategic partnership with China.

“This year marks the 45th anniversary of Malaysia-China relations.

“I believe with our joint efforts, we can bring this relationship to a higher level,” she said.

The over 800-year-old Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, which literally translates to “Angling Terrace”, was the vacation home of the emperors during the Qing Dynasty.

Dr Wan Azizah also paid a cour­tesy call on Vice-President Wang Qishan and had bilateral meetings with the State Councillor Wang Yong and Chinese Communist Party’s International Department director Song Tao.

In the meetings, both countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in various fields, including automobile, e-commerce and artificial intelligence.

“Malaysia wishes to learn from China’s experience in dealing with issues like an ageing society and developing programmes for special- needs children while encouraging more women to enter the workforce,” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah said she also called on China to recognise more Malaysian higher learning institutions which would attract more of their people to study in the country.