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The Future of Asia 2012

Regional Blocs Like ASEAN Essential For Peace: Mahathir

Friday, May 24, 2013

TOKYO (Nikkei)--The creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations helped avert war and has provided a forum for maintaining peace and stability in Asia, Mahathir bin Mohamad said Friday in Tokyo.

Speaking at the 19th International Conference on the Future of Asia, the former Malaysian prime minister said that after tensions escalated in the region, ASEAN was formed to prevent war.

"When you have regional arrangements, it can be possible to avoid conflict," Mahathir said. "This is what happened with ASEAN. Regional agreements are good to ensure that peace is sustained in a certain area."

He pointed out that water resources are a key area in which negotiations through regional associations is essential.

"Regional cooperation is important in river resources. The source may be in one country and downstream in another," he said. Cooperation to ensure that the upstream country does not damage the river works to benefit all, he said.

Takehiko Nakao, president of the Asian Development Bank and who had a dialogue with Mahathir at the conference, said, "ASEAN has been playing an important role in nurturing friendship" and is also "a catalyst" to form greater international frameworks, such as ASEAN+3, which includes Japan, China and South Korea.

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