*Teoh Yong Chia, Yang Lai Fong & David Hock Jin NEO
News media play an important role in diplomacy. Hence, when dealing with diplomatic relations, a question of how these media portray the messages of their countries’ leaders is the major concerns of this study. The news coverage of Najib’s visit to China is examined comparatively across Malaysian and Chinese newspapers. By employing framing as the theoretical framework and content analysis as the research method, this study examined the framing process undertaken by the newspapers in reporting diplomatic relations. The results revealed that, although the state visit was characterized by a positive tone towards Malaysia and China that described bilateral relations, economic consequences frame was most highlighted by Malaysian newspaper, while Chinese newspaper emphasized the responsibility frame. Notably, this study found that these two newspapers were inclined to favorably portray their respective governments. The dissimilar coverage of a same issue by Malaysian and Chinese newspaper denoted a certain degree of cross-national bias reflecting its host cultural, ideological and political perspectives.
Keywords: Malaysia-China relations, framing theory, diplomacy