Not a good idea for US to host APEC

Chile would no longer host the summit and the COP25 amid wide anti-govt protests in the country

pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA has responded negatively to Washington’s proposal to host a substitute summit for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) after Chile cancelled a meeting scheduled for this month.

Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (picture) was contacted by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who sought for Malaysia’s position on APEC during the 35th Asean Summit in Bangkok recently.

“Chile is unable to host APEC this November and the US is thinking of hosting it in January, but I’ve informed the US officials in Bangkok that we don’t think it’s a good idea,” Saifuddin said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Chile would no longer host the APEC summit and the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, amid wide anti-government protests in the country.

The APEC summit was scheduled to take place on Nov 16-17, and the COP25 over the first two weeks in December. US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to pursue an interim trade deal at the November summit.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin had confirmed the detainment of former Cambodian Minister Mu Sochua by immigration officers at an airport in Kuala Lumpur.

“She is now at the airport. I think she came with an American passport, but I’m not so sure. As far as we are concerned, we know of her arrival last night and I think the authorities at the airport want to interview her,” he said.

Reuters reported the arrest yesterday, stating that the former women’s minister was held at the airport after flying from Indonesia. Sochua on Wednesday condemned a crackdown by Cambodian authorities, who have reportedly banned members of the Opposition to return home.

Saifuddin admitted that Malaysia has received requests to repatriate “a number of people” but declined to name the country.

“We are a pro-democracy government. We follow things very closely but at the same time, we cannot interfere with things that happen in other countries,” the minister said.