Najib Razak says Asean  also wants North Korea to return to the discussion table to ensure peace and stability in the region

MANILA: Asean leaders, concerned about the situation in the Korean Peninsula, want North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons programme altogether.

Prime Minister Najib Razak in a statement today, said they also wanted North Korea to return to the discussion table to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Najib, who is leading the Malaysian delegation to the 31st Asean Summit and Related Meetings which ends today, said the deep concern was voiced out by him and the other leaders at the Asean-South Korea Summit on Monday which was also attended by South Korean President, Moon Jae-in.

From the economic aspect, Najib said the Asean leaders stressed that real efforts and cooperation must be upped to ensure that the target of US$200 billion worth of trade between Korea and Asean could be achieved by 2020.

“The leaders also touched on the potential of increasing economic integration between them after the Asean-South Korea FTA (Free Trade Agreement) has been finalised,” he said.

On the bilateral meeting between him and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, here on Sunday, Najib said they both discussed several matters including the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project.

The prime minister said he had told Abe that Malaysia would open the tender to parties interested to bid for the project, and the bids would be considered from the overall aspect.

The land acquisition process for the project started on Nov 1, hence paving the way for the bidding process which is expected to begin by the year-end.

The infrastructure project of a distance of 350 kilometres is expected to attract international bids for the first high-speed, cross-border rail project in Southeast Asia, which was signed between Malaysia and Singapore in December, 2016.

Najib said he and Abe also discussed cooperation in the halal industry, and Malaysia recorded its appreciation for the Japanese government for its contribution of two ships to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.