BANGKOK, Nov 3 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has criticised the move by a certain country to impose economic sanctions on another country, saying the move is against the law.

He said applying sanctions not only hurts the country involved but also negatively impacts other countries that trade with the country sanctioned.

“When you apply sanction, it is against the law. There is no provision in UN (United Nations) that when a country is dissatisfied with another country, it can apply sanction on that country as well as other countries that trade with the country being sanctioned,” he told the Malaysian media on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit here today.

He noted that although the issue of sanctions was not mentioned at the summit, it had also affected other countries.

“Malaysia is now being sanctioned, because we can’t trade with a very big trading country of ours, Iran. Other countries also receive the same treatment.

“So under what law? They talk so much about rule of law; they talk so much about rule-based trade but the very people that talk about this or invented this idea are the same people not adhering to their own principles,” he said.

Though Dr Mahathir did no mention the nation that imposed economic sanctions, the United States has slapped economic and trade sanctions on Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme.

Earlier this week, Dr Mahathir had said Malaysia was pressured by certain quarters to close bank accounts of Iranian individuals and companies in Malaysia due to the sanction on Iran.

Dr Mahathir also said the issue of US-China trade war was discussed at the summits today, with the leaders expressing their concern over the ongoing spat with no signs when it would end.

“Yes. They all feel that this is disrupting the growth of their trade and economy.

“They would like to have a peaceful world where they can trade with other countries,” he said, adding that China itself had wanted to put an end to it.

The prime minister said the trade war could drag on for at least another five years if US President Donald Trump was re-elected next year.

Earlier today, Dr Mahathir participated in three summits, namely the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit, 16th ASEAN-India Summit and 10th ASEAN-United Nations (UN) Summit.

Touching on the grouping’s meeting with India, Dr Mahathir said both sides have agreed to continue enhancing cooperation including increasing bilateral interaction, trade and tourism.

“(With) India, basically there is no problem. India is positive on those issues and I hope these will be translated into actions by India and ASEAN,” he said.

On the meeting with the UN delegation headed by its secretary-general António Guterres, the prime minister said he once again highlighted the veto power of the world body.

He said that at the meeting, for the first time, Gutteres also agreed with him on the need to tackle and take actions against the threats of terrorism based on its root cause.

Gutteres also touched on the issue of climate change and its effects in the region, especially the rising sea level that resulted in some islands being inundated.

The three-day summit will end tomorrow.



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