Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has denounced the escalating tensions over Taiwan as “a US provocation” and urged Southeast Asian nations to get closer to China.
The 97-year-old politician and the country’s longest-serving prime minister, who last resigned as prime minister in 2020, said in an interview with the Financial Times that China is a “big market” for China. Malaysia And maintaining that economic relationship was very important.
Mahathir He added that the Chinese philosophy, unlike the West, is not about conquering and occupying nations.
“Yes, China claims the South China Sea as theirs, but they have not invaded us. They didn’t occupy us, they invested in us,” he said, referring to the political and economic bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “China is a very good trading partner.”
ASEAN, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, needs to stay clear of China’s “provocations” by the US and Western countries, Mahathir said, citing US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial move to Taiwan this month. You may have mentioned a visit. The visit infuriated China, which claimed the islands as its territory and launched an unprecedented series of military exercises across the country in response.
Mahathir’s comments underscore the fetters of Southeast Asian nations that have long relied on the United States for security and China for trade. Many governments in the region are struggling to find solutions to rising tensions between competing superpowers.
The Mahathir administration from 2018 to 2020 strengthened relations with China. asked for further scrutiny of Beijing’s investment in China.
Malaysia has been plagued by political turmoil since Mahathir stepped down. Over the years, the country has had two prime ministers who have hampered the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, sparking bitter factions and infighting. Elections are expected as early as this year.
The fallout has led to the revival of the United Malay National Organization, which Mahathir once ruled, and is now linked to former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is involved in money laundering linked to the embezzlement scandal of 1 Malaysian developer Barhad. Convicted in the ring.
Najib lost his final appeal last week But Mahathir said his rival and former protégé could remain influential from prison. “He has enthusiastic supporters who will do everything in their power to foil justice. They will try to grant him a pardon,” Mahathir said.
Mahathir called the current Ismail Sabri Ya’aqob government corrupt and when asked if he would run again, he replied “I will do my best”.