Minister: Malaysia raises concern about ongoing trade war

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia raised concern about the threat of the US-China trade war which is likely to have repercussions in the region. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said Malaysia raised concern about the threat of the US-China trade war which is likely to have repercussions in the region. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

SINGAPORE, Aug 4 — Malaysia has specifically raised concern about the threat of the US-China trade war which is likely to have repercussions in the region, said Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Saifuddin said he brought up the matter during a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here on Friday.

“I have a very good meeting with the US Secretary State. We reiterated the sentiment in the region. I informed him many people in this region, especially Malaysia, as a small country, is quite nervous about repercussions with the on-going trade war.

“He was, of course, quite articulate in his response... it is only to be expected... my objective is quite straight forward. We are very concerned,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the last day of the 51st Asean Ministerial Meeting here today.

Saifuddin described his meeting with Pompeo, which was held right before the Asean-US Ministerial Meeting, as “short but interesting.”

Saifuddin co-chaired the meeting with Pompeo.

Malaysia is the country coordinator for the Asean-US Dialogue Relations for the term 2015-2018.

“We are currently facing a real threat. Real threat in the name of trade war. The threat is making many countries very concerned,” he said.

The threat is becoming more complex as it intertwined with geopolitical issues and is relevant to the South China Sea, he said, adding that, “South China Sea is supposed to be a place for people to do trade. Of course, our concern is that some activities in the region may cause tension.”

Saifuddin, who is leading the Malaysian delegation to the 51st Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting/Post Ministerial Conferences and Related Meetings in Singapore from Aug 1, said Malaysia had also highlighted the worries with other Asean member states.

Asked whether other member states raised their concern during the Asean-US Ministerial Meeting, Saifuddin said, “Quite a number but sometimes people use different language.”

“I used the term trade war on more than one occasions. Another favourite language registered was that they don’t like the idea of protectionism,” he said. — Bernama

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