JEJU ISLAND, South Korea, June 1 (Yonhap) — Malaysia wants to see more investment and cultural exchanges between South Korea and Southeast Asian nations, as well as broader people-to-people contact, its Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said Monday.
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, the Malaysian leader said that in terms of bilateral ties, Malaysia hopes for move investment from South Korea and cooperation in new areas.
On a visit here to attend the South Korea-ASEAN special summit, the prime minister described the two-day gathering as “very important.”
“It signifies the growing relationship between South Korea and ASEAN,” Najib said. “This meeting will expand overall investment and cultural activities to develop a single market for free trade.”
The prime minister and the leaders of nine other ASEAN countries — Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — are scheduled to attend the special summit that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue partnership between Korea and ASEAN.
South Korea-Malaysia bilateral trade totaled US$14.7 billion last year, the third largest for South Korea among ASEAN nations. The two countries will mark their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.
Malaysia is looking for ways to collaborate in such fields as information and communications technology, Najib said. “I think South Korea has a very strong technology industry and we’d like to develop more in such new areas.”
He expressed special interest in South Korea’s animation technology. “We are very keen to find out how we can collaborate in developing such new areas,” he said.
The prime minister also recommended that more student exchange programs be created to facilitate Malaysian students’ learning of advanced skills.
Najib expressed concern over North Korea’s recent nuclear test and rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “We are against nuclear proliferation and are concerned about the issue,” the prime minister said.
Pyongyang last week defied international appeals to desist from continued provocations by conducting its second nuclear test and firing a series of short-range missiles. Intelligence reports suggest the communist state is preparing for a long-range missile test, following a rocket launch in April that drew U.N. condemnation.
“We believe the Korean Peninsula should be free from nuclear weapons,” the Malaysian prime minister said. “The only viable option is to push forward to resume the six-party talks with North Korea,” he said, referring to multilateral aid-for-denuclearization talks that involve the region’s key players.
Source : Yonhap