Malaysia vows to use Huawei ‘as much as possible’ amid US ban

Published 30.05.2019 13:15
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a press conference in Tokyo, May 30, 2019. (AFP Photo)
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a press conference in Tokyo, May 30, 2019. (AFP Photo)

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday expressed support for Chinese tech giant Huawei amid a U.S. ban on the company.

"(Malaysia) will continue to make use of their technology as much as possible," Mahathir said at a conference in Tokyo.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month signed an executive order banning American companies from working with Huawei. Huawei has filed motions against the order and said such a ban would harm American interests.

Mahathir argued that Malaysia was "too small to have an impact on the company like Huawei," saying the company had access to research "far bigger than the whole of Malaysia's research equivalent."

"Everybody knows, if any country wants to invade Malaysia, they can walk through, and we will not resist because it's a waste of time," he added.

His comments come after a wave of controversy over the Chinese telecommunications firm, which has been hit by allegations of espionage.

A number of countries have blocked Huawei from working on their mobile networks and companies have stepped back from the firm after the U.S. ban, citing legal requirements.

The spat comes as the U.S. and China raise tariffs in tit-for-tat moves along with blistering rhetoric accusing each other of unfair trade practices.

Mahathir warned about the heated exchanges between Beijing and Washington, which come as the powers and their allies lock horns in the hotly contested South China Sea.

He said the U.S. and "the West" must accept that Asian nations now produce competitive products, and should not "threaten" business rivals.

"Yes, I understand Huawei has tremendous advance(s) over American technology even. The U.S. must compete with China. At times China will win, other times the U.S. will win," he said.

He warned that the tense relations between the U.S. and China might impact the situation in the South China Sea, where China claims sovereignty despite rival claims from other regional nations.

And he urged calm in the area, warning that small incidents could easily escalate into violence.

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