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TOKYO, May 30 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said western countries must accept that years of research and development has improved the capability of countries in the East, which no longer imitate products from the West.
“Initially they copied products from the West, then they produced better products and their research enables them to produce even better products...in the telephone field, for example, Korea, Japan and China spent much more money on research and development than probably Europe and the US.
By investing more, the East has improved the products and the world must accept that new reality, he said.
“(For instance), I understand Huawei has a tremendous advantage over American technology.
“But if you want to have a situation where you are always ahead and when you are not ahead I will ban you and send warships to your country, that is not a competition, that is threatening people and that is not the approach to use.
“As much as (before) we expected everything from the West, now it is coming from the East,” he said during a dialogue session at the 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia (Nikkei Conference) here, today.
Dr Mahathir arrived in Tokyo last night for a three-day working visit.
The prime minister noted that the United States prospered economically because most of its companies had invested in the poorer countries where cost is significantly lower, including in China.
“Many US companies are operating in China, Malaysia and other countries. They basically, produce the components and parts that go into the products of the US and because of that, the US products become competitive in the world.
“But if all these parts producing companies are located in the US, the cost will be prohibitive and it will not be able to compete with the products of Eastern companies”.
Dr Mahathir said this happened when Japan first showed that it could produce all the kitchen appliances at a lower cost.
“We pushed out all the products of the west, including motorcars. Japan was able to compete with the West because of their work ethics and lower wages. But if the US wants to do everything in the US, the cost will be prohibitive and their products will not be competitive.
“However, there are certain areas that the US will excel in. We know that they build fantastic airplanes, for example, their engineering capabilities and skills are very high,” added the Prime Minister. — Bernama