Dr M hopes US-China will see ‘enough sense’ to end trade war, accept healthy competition

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that the trade war between the US and China can ultimately impact the rest of the countries, which would in turn, become a ‘hapless collateral damage’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that the trade war between the US and China can ultimately impact the rest of the countries, which would in turn, become a ‘hapless collateral damage’. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 ― Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed hope that the US and China would see “enough sense” to end its long drawn trade war, and reminded of the importance of a healthy competition.

In his speech at the 33rd Asia-Pacific Roundtable at the Hilton Hotel here, Dr Mahathir said that the trade war between the two nations can ultimately impact the rest of the countries, which would in turn, become a “hapless collateral damage”.

“A major challenge for all of us now is the US-China trade war. Its deterioration from a trading skirmish to a trade war has been most disappointing, with the prospect of worsening into a long-term Cold War.

“I hope the US and China will soon see enough sense to replace conflict with cooperation. Everyone will stand to gain much more when we collaborate with each other, but healthy competition should also be acceptable,” Dr Mahathir said, adding that China's growth is only part and parcel of globalisation which was once championed by the US.

He added that Malaysia would however, continue the promotion of a peaceful, stable and strategically autonomous neighbourhood.

Dr Mahathir also shared some success stories of Malaysia, in helping its Asean nation members.

“When Thailand and Malaysia were confronted by insurgents along our common border, we acted together to resolve the problem.

“When violence flared again on the Thai side, Malaysia offered to bring the contending parties together in negotiations. But any approach would be for the Thais themselves to make. Malaysia’s role itself was possible only upon the agreement of all the Thai parties, and upon the invitation of the Thai authorities. The same applies for Malaysia’s role in the southern Philippines,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said that when pirate problems worsened in the Straits of Malacca, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia again joined forces to tackle it, with Thailand later joining in the multinational effort.

“Fruitful international relations are possible only when national circumstances are equally healthy. Towards that end, we believe Malaysia and the region will prevail,” he reminded.

China and the US have been at loggerheads with one another, notably after the banning on telecommunications brand Huawei in the US.

Following the escalated trade rivalry between the two nations, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will make use of Huawei’s technology as much as possible.

Nikkei Asian Review reported that while countries including Japan and Australia were avoiding the use of Huawei equipment as they introduced new 5G mobile networks, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia had no intention of shunning the Chinese company.

Following Dr Mahathir's statement of support for Huawei, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian declared his country’s eternal friendship to Malaysia  support of its beleaguered handphone maker Huawei.

Bai also said China will always help Malaysia in their common pursuit to develop technologically.