Malaysiakini News

Malaysia can't go to war with China, Dr M says

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Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration has taken a tough stance towards China and its various projects in the country as part of its efforts to save the economy.

However, this isn't the only front in which Putrajaya has to contend with China over.

The superpower has, over the past several years, extended its claim over the South China Sea, including on territories that Malaysia claims as its own.

Mahathir, however, believes that China won't turn the territorial dispute into a military occupation, and likewise said that Malaysia would not respond with hostilities.

"We cannot go to war with them. They are more powerful, and we cannot fight against them, (so) how do we benefit from their wealth and their power? That's what we are looking at now," he said in an interview with CNN.

In an effort to ease tensions in the South China Sea, his cabinet is pushing for a cross-border effort to ensure that no warships are present in the area.

Meanwhile, on tensions between US and China over trade, Mahathir said a trade war as espoused by US president Donald Trump would not benefit anyone.

"The US will lose, China will lose, the whole world will lose. War and trade wars (don't) solve any problems," he said.

Malaysiakini earlier reported that Mahathir is expected to visit China in the middle of next month.

His visit will likely come after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali arrive in Beijing to iron out details over several China-linked mega-projects such as the East Coast Rail Link which Putrajaya has put on hold.

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