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The Future of Asia 2018

Malaysia should 'make best use' of Belt and Road, Mahathir says

Prime minister vows to stay friendly with China

China "is a big country and we have to deal with them whether we like it or not," Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a press conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Monday. (Photo by Yukako Ono)

TOKYO -- The new government of Malaysia will continue its "friendly" relationship with China and "make best use" of its initiative to create a 21st-century Silk Road to connect East Asia with Europe, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.

"We are a small country and whether we object to it or not, China will go ahead with the Belt and Road plan," Mahathir told reporters at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on his first visit abroad after being sworn in last month. He was speaking after his morning address at the Future of Asia conference, hosted by Nikkei.

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