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Malaysia PM Calls For Regional Integration In Asia

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Regional integration is key to building momentum for the economies of Asia, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at a forum in Tokyo on Thursday.

For Asia to become a true regional community, rather than a mere economic grouping, it is important that the countries of the region establish close communications, Najib said at the Future of Asia conference, co-organized by The Nikkei and the Japan Center for Economic Research.

For trade, Najib emphasized the importance of cooperation within the region and beyond. He expressed his desire to expand Malaysia's free trade ties with Europe and the Middle East, as well as his nation's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Najib said Malaysia would continue to provide support for Japan's rebuilding efforts in the wake of the March 11 disaster. He also expressed a desire to cooperate with Japan on disaster prevention measures.

Power plans

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai told the forum he would push forth with a plan to launch a nuclear power plant in Vietnam by about 2020. A group of Japanese firms reportedly won the construction order for the plant.

He said that nuclear safety concerns stemming from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant would likely force some countries to return to other power sources that pollute the environment. But he added that nuclear power will be an effective way for Vietnam to help address global warming.

Senior government officials, economists and academics from across the Asia-Pacific region have gathered at the Future of Asia conference to discuss regional cooperation, growth strategies and reconstruction efforts in Japan. The theme of this year's conference is "Stronger Ties and Greater Growth: Keys to Overcoming Asia's Challenges."

(The Nikkei May 26 evening edition)

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.