Asean wants North Korea to drop its nu­clear plans

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MANILA: Asean lead­ers, con­cerned about the sit­u­a­tion in the Korean Penin­sula, want North Korea to drop its nu­clear weapons pro­gramme al­to­gether.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak in a state­ment yes­ter­day, said they also wanted North Korea to re­turn to the dis­cus­sion ta­ble to en­sure peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

Na­jib, who is lead­ing the Malaysian del­e­ga­tion to the 31st Asean Sum­mit and Re­lated Meet­ings which end yes­ter­day, said the deep con­cern was voiced out by him and the other lead­ers at the Asean-South Korea Sum­mit on Mon­day which was also at­tended by South Korean Pres­i­dent, Moon Jae-in.

From the eco­nomic as­pect, Na­jib said the Asean lead­ers stressed that real ef­forts and co­op­er­a­tion must be upped to en­sure that the tar­get of US$ 200 bil­lion worth of trade be­tween Korea and Asean could be achieved by 2020.

“The lead­ers also touched on the po­ten­tial of in­creas­ing eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion be­tween them after the Asean- South Korea FTA (Free Trade Agree­ment) has been fi­nalised,” he said.

On the bi­lat­eral meet­ing be­tween him and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part, Shinzo Abe, here on Sun­day, Na­jib said they both dis­cussed sev­eral mat­ters in­clud­ing the KL-Sin­ga­pore High Speed Rail pro­ject.

The prime min­is­ter said he had told Abe that Malaysia would open the ten­der to par­ties in­ter­ested to bid for the pro­ject, and the bids would be con­sid­ered from the overall as­pect.

The land ac­qui­si­tion process for the pro­ject started on Nov 1, hence paving the way for the bid­ding process which is ex­pected to be­gin by the year- end.

The in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject of a dis­tance of 350 kilo­me­tres is ex­pected to at­tract in­ter­na­tional bids for the first high-speed, cross­bor­der rail pro­ject in South­east Asia, which was signed be­tween Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore in De­cem­ber, 2016.

Na­jib said he and Abe also dis­cussed co­op­er­a­tion in the halal in­dus­try, and Malaysia recorded its ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment for its con­tri­bu­tion of two ships to the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency. — Ber­nama

Na­jib (sec­ond right) hav­ing a light mo­ment with (from left) Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev, Brunei Sul­tan Has­sanal Bolkiah, In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo and Thai­land’s Prime Min­is­ter Prayuth Chan-Ocha dur­ing a photo call. — Ber­nama photo

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