AP

Ex-Malaysia PM: US-led trade group intended to isolate China

May 27, 2022, 5:28 AM | Updated: 7:47 am

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, left...

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, left, shake hands at the start of their meeting at the Prime Minister's official residence Friday, May 27, 2022 in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool)

TOKYO (AP) — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized a new U.S.-led economic grouping on Friday, saying it is intended to isolate China, and won’t benefit regional economic growth without Beijing.

U.S. President Joe Biden launched the 13-nation Indo-Pacific Economic Framework during a visit to Japan earlier this week. He said it will help the United States work more closely with Asian countries in areas including supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anticorruption.

“The U.S. will always want to use groupings like this in order to isolate China,” Mahathir said at an international conference in Tokyo. “Many countries recognize that this is not an economic grouping but it is truly a political grouping.”

The signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. Together they represent 40% of the world’s GDP.

“This is not good for their own economic development,” Mahathir said of the countries in the grouping.

“China is a big trading partner for Malaysia, we don’t want to see any tension, any conflict with China and we hope that the U.S. will realize that China is there, it’s not going to disappear, and we have to live with China, which is now richer than most countries in the world,” he said at “The Future of Asia,” a conference organized by Nikkei Inc.

Later Friday, current Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also in Tokyo, met with his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida. They welcomed the launch of the economic framework and affirmed their cooperation in areas such as digital transformation, cybersecurity, emerging technology and supply chain resilience, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.

Kishida sought Malaysia’s support in achieving a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, a vision promoted by Japan and the United States as a counter to China’s military and economic rise in the region, the ministry said.

Mahathir, 96, who served as Malaysia’s fourth and seven prime ministers, was seen for many years as a de facto spokesperson for less developed countries and frequently criticized the West. He remains an influential figure in Malaysia.

He led an opposition coalition to a historic election victory in 2018 that ousted a corruption-tainted government in the first peaceful transfer of power since Malaysia’s independence in 1957.

Mahathir became the world’s oldest leader at 92 but his rule lasted only 22 months as his government collapsed due to infighting. Mahathir formed a new ethnic Malay party in 2020 to oppose the new leadership.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

4 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

5 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

8 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

11 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

22 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Ex-Malaysia PM: US-led trade group intended to isolate China