FROM EIR DAILY ALERT
Mahathir Five-Day Visit to China Reasserts Strongest Ties
Aug. 20, 2018 (EIRNS)—The fact that Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, re-elected this year after 15 years out of office, had campaigned against the corruption of former Prime Minister Najib Razak—including in his mega-deals with China—had set the anti-China mafia in the West all a-twitter about a supposed blow to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. That notion was duly dispensed with during Dr. Mahathir’s highly successful five-day visit to China, which concluded today. Following meetings with both Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping; the two nations’ leaders reaffirmed their close ties and mutual respect, while signing numerous new and renewed trade and currency agreements.
At the press conference with Li Keqiang, Dr. Mahathir said: “We’re here to assure the Chinese government and its people that there will be no change of policy.... We see China as a model for development.”
In regard to the rail and pipeline deals negotiated by Najib, Dr. Mahathir said,
“I believe that China will look sympathetically towards the problems that we have to resolve and perhaps help us in resolving some of our internal fiscal problems.”
The Prime Minister visited Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, rode on a high-speed train, and oversaw the signing of a cooperation agreement between Chinese auto firm Geely and Malaysian carmaker Proton. The delegation included Malaysia’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Primary Industries, International Trade and Industries, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, and Entrepreneur Development, as well as other senior government officials, who met their counterparts.
The joint communiqué states that the two sides will speed up the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Mutual Economic Development through China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.
China pledged to buy more Malaysian goods, including palm oil, durians and rubber, to improve the balance of trade (China is Malaysia’s leading trade partner, but it is imbalanced in China’s favor). Malaysia in turn wants to increase China’s support in advanced technologies.