KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Joe Biden could play a key role for Asia’s overall growth as he looks to the US president-elect to rebuild ties with China whose growth is crucial to the region.
The 95-year-old told business paper Nikkei Asia that he expects Biden to take a more rational approach than current US president Donald Trump, who ignited a trade war with the Asian superpower that had economic repercussions on around the world, including Malaysia.
“Under Trump, relationships between countries were totally destroyed as he quarreled with China, Europe, Mexico and even with Canada,” the two-time prime minister said.
“Biden would have to have some normalisation in the relationship with China, as it's very important to us,” he said.
China remains Malaysia's largest trading partner, followed by Singapore and the United States.
Bilateral trade between the two nations hit another record high last year, rising to US$124 billion (roughly RM503 billion), said China's Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian, 14.2 per cent increase from 2018's US$108.66 billion (RM443 billion).
Dr Mahathir, 95, a long vocal critic of the US, especially over American support for Israel versus the Palestinians.
He told Nikkei Asia that Biden could rebuild ties that he says were damaged under the Trump administration.