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The Future of Asia 2022

U.S. should invite China to IPEF if it is sincere, Mahathir says

Malaysia's ex-PM says exclusion of No. 2 economy politicizes Indo-Pacific pact

Malaysia's Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad critiques the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework in an exclusive interview with Nikkei. (Photo by Tetsuya Kitayama) 

TOKYO -- Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) championed by U.S. President Joe Biden is inherently political, since it excludes China.

In an exclusive interview with Nikkei on the sidelines of its Future of Asia conference, Mahathir said any trade alliances that leave out the world's No. 2 economy defeat the purpose of enhancing multilateral trade cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

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