No trade war without Trump, PM says

Azril Annuar
Dr Mahathir called Trump unpredictable but said he was not bothered by the latter whom he indicated was inconsequential to South-east Asia. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad predicts that Donald Trump’s removal as US president will end the superpower’s ongoing trade war with China — the spillover effects which have disrupted the economies of other countries, including Malaysia.

The prime minister said both the Republicans and Democrats in the US government are unlikely to continue with sanctions against China if Trump loses his reelection bid.

“If Trump is not there, the other members of the US government, whether they are Republican or Democrat, they will not continue with this very disruptive trade war,” Dr Mahathir told US broadcaster CNBC in an interview in Singapore yesterday.

Dr Mahathir was also sceptical that the upcoming G20 meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will provide a solution to the trade tensions.

The world’s oldest prime minister said he would be very surprised if Trump retains the US presidency for a second term, basing his prediction on the November mid-term election results that saw the Republican Party lose its majority to the Democrats.

“As you can see from the midterm elections, he has not done so well. The chances of him getting a second term are a bit bleak at the moment...

“I will be surprised if he’s re-elected after his poor showing in the midterm elections,” Dr Mahathir told CNBC.

The 93-year-old leader said the US elections is a referendum on Trump’s policies.

Dr Mahathir called Trump unpredictable but said he was not bothered by the latter whom he indicated was inconsequential to South-east Asia.

“It doesn’t bother me because I don’t know what he’s going to say and he’s not committed,” he said in the interview.

Instead of Trump, US vice-president Mike Pence attended the ongoing Asean Summit in Singapore, while other non-Asean leaders are represented by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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