China, Malaysia to push forward bilateral ties

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is seeking to renegotiate, and perhaps cancel, billions of dollars worth of Chinese-invested projects entangled in domestic graft probes. (Reuters)
Updated 20 August 2018
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China, Malaysia to push forward bilateral ties

  • Mahathir Mohamad is seeking to renegotiate, and perhaps cancel, billions of dollars worth of Chinese-invested projects entangled in domestic graft probes
  • Ties have been strained since a stunning election victory returned Mahathir to power in May
BEIJING: China’s Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday his government is willing to promote bilateral ties and economic cooperation with Malaysia as Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad visited China to discuss trade and investment.
The agreements reached on Mahathir’s trip showed the two countries would remain friendly in the long term, Li told a joint news conference at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Mahathir is seeking to renegotiate, and perhaps cancel, billions of dollars worth of Chinese-invested projects entangled in domestic graft probes.
Ties have been strained since a stunning election victory returned Mahathir to power in May and he then suspended unpopular Chinese projects authorized by former premier Najib Razak.
Najib courted Chinese investment and was a cheerleader for President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia during his decade-long rule.
However, Mahathir has vowed to discuss the “unfair” deals on his visit.
The Malaysian premier said his trip had been fruitful and that he believed China would look sympathetically toward the problems both sides have to resolve.
Addressing Mahathir directly, Li asked if he believed they had consensus on upholding free trade.
“I agree with you that free trade should be the way to go but of course free trade should also be fair trade,” Mahathir said.
“We should always remember that the level of development of countries are not all the same. We do not want a situation where there is a new version of colonialism happening because poor countries are unable to compete with rich countries,” he said.


Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

Updated 17 November 2018
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Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

  • Both countries could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion
  • Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran and Iraq could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion, in remarks carried live by state television.
“Today, the economic relations between the two countries reach about $12 billion (per year) and, through bilateral efforts, we can raise this figure to $20 billion,” Rouhani told visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Salih's Iran visit comes less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
State TV says Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
Trade between the two countries was some $7 billion in 2017, and they have vowed to boost it to $8.5 billion this year.

(With AP)