Dr Mahathir, Putin discuss strengthening bilateral ties further


VLADIVOSTOK • Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) where both leaders discussed efforts to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

During the 30 minutes discussion in the port city overlooking Golden Horn Bay, near the borders with China and North Korea, they also spoke about trade and innovation.

Dr Mahathir and Putin previously met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit held in Singapore last year.

The EEF, which was established by decree of Putin in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East, takes place between Sept 4 and Sept 6, 2019, at the Far Eastern Federal University campus.

Forum organiser Roscongress Foundation quoted Putin as saying the development of Russia’s Far East, including strengthening of its economic and innovative potential, as well as raising the living standards of its residents, is the country indisputable priority.

“Partnership between the business circles of Russia and the Asia-Pacific Region is growing stronger,” he said in a greeting statement to all participants of EEF.

Malaysia and Russia enjoyed more than 50 years of cordial diplomatic relations.

According to a report by Sputnik news agency, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia is not planning to sign any deals with Russian companies at the ongoing EEF, but it has been talking to Russian firms about the possibility of more direct investment.

“We have no plans to sign any agreement at the moment, but we will see whether there is a need for that,” the PM said when asked during an interview session, if Malaysia was planning to sign any deals at the EEF currently held in Russia’s Vladivostok, during an interview session with Sputnik.

At the same time, Malaysia has been “talking to Russian companies about the possibility of their getting involved more in Malaysian economic development, particularly with foreign direct investment”, Dr Mahathir said.

“Malaysia is a trading nation, we are always trying to find new markets. And we see that eastern part of Russia may be a good place for us to have a market for our exports,” said the PM.

Separately, Dr Mahathir also met with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in a bilateral meeting ahead of the three-day EEF which began yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, who arrived on Wednesday and Modi are attending the ongoing economic forum held in the major port city, located in Russia’s Far East.

This is the second meeting between the two leaders. The first meeting was held on May 31 last year when the Indian PM called on Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya. — Bernama