San Francisco, Nov 15: For the last one year PM Anwar Ibrahim has consistently called for the US and China to engage each other and not force others around them, Malaysia included, to ally to one or the other.
This morning, as President Biden and President Xi finally held a historic four-eyed meeting at the onset of the APEC Summit, Anwar applauded it as “critical” and called for an end of “the Cold War mind set “.
“To me, the meeting between President Biden and President Xi is critical because it should give a message that we are able to work together and trust each other, to resolve serious problems and issues like climate change, Ukranian or Gaza. There are too many contentious issues in the world and we must try and engage.
“Accept the fact that you may not achieve all the desired results but this engagement is important to try and establish areas that we can work together,” he said at the APEC 2023 CEO Summit here.
APEC comprises 21 nations including the US, China, ASEAN, South Korea, Japan and the Oceania. These leaders’ Summit is preceded by a week of meetings involving the CEOs, the APEC economic ministers (AEM) and foreign ministers (AMM).
Anwar has always been against attempts to force Malaysia to take sides in the US-China conundrum. He repeated this stand to the CEOs.
“Why put us in a fix in a zero-sum game? For the benefit of the emerging economes and also for the West and the East, I believe that the solution is, of course, greater collaboration.
“This Cold War mindset must end because the world in the post-normal times is more chaotic, more complex and full of contraditions that only wise leaders with vision and commitment and shared idealis will be able to resolve effectively.”
Yesterday, in his special lecture at the UC Berkeley yesterday, Anwar had described how both these countries are equally important to Malaysia.
He cited as example the case of his government’s decision to open up Malaysia’s 5G development to China’s Huawei.
“When it comes to 5G, our earlier decision was to go with Ericsson (but) then we also see this very impressive advanced technological transformations by Huawei. So we choose what we consider the best for the country. It is not a question of whether we like the United States or China, it is what’s critically important for Malaysia,” he had told the students.
Last September at the UN General Assembly, the Malaysian PM had also sent a similar message to the US and China.
He repeated this to the APEC CEOs: “The US and the West remain a very important ally to us and China is a very important, trusted neighbour tht will help in our attempt to propel the economy and ensure a peaceful and vibrant regional economy.”
Anwar also challenged the business leaders to be more accountable and help promote the new dynamics. “You can’t depend only on the political leaders because they have been entrusted and to some extent they have succeeded, but they have also failed miserably. So we need now a new configuration where the private sector should play a more dominant role.”
At the same time, he added, the business leaders must have the humility to accept that things have changed and to acknowlege that we have limitations. The 1MDB, for example, would not have happened without the complicity of some international financial institutions, in this case Goldman Sachs. “Accountability is not just among politial leaders but also business leaders and civil society leaders,” he added.
Anwar is scheduled to have a series of discussions with CEOs of some of the biggest corporations based in San Francisco, including Google and Microsoft, and several bilateral meetings with his counterparts, including from Canada and Peru, which is hosting next year’s APEC.
At the end of the 30th APEC summit on Saturday, the leaders will adopt a Golden Gate Declaration that will set the tone for economic collaborations among the member countries in the coming year.