KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 – Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is not bothered by Donald Trump’s decision to stay away from the Asean summit in Singapore, blaming the US president for America’s current trade war with China.
“It doesn’t bother me. Because I don’t know what he is going to say, and he is not committed,” the prime minister, who is currently in Singapore, told CNBC in an interview.
He said Trump was a factor in the increased tension between Washington and Beijing.
“If Trump is not there, I think the other members of the US government, whether Republican or Democrat, will not continue with this very destructive trade war,” said Mahathir, who is well known for his hard-hitting criticism of US policies.
He said he did not think Trump would be re-elected for a second term, adding that the signs could be seen in the results of the newly concluded mid-term elections.
Mahathir also said Trump was fond of dismissing people and scuttling investigations into him.
Describing Trump as unpredictable, Mahathir said he could not tell how a meeting between the US president and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would play out.
“We never expected for him to meet the North Korean leader. Then he met, he was patting his back, he was so friendly, and yet one time he said he didn’t want to meet.
“With Trump, you can’t predict.”