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S.E. Asian nations to develop alternative energy sources with China

Oct 31, 2006 The Associated Press

(Kyodo) _ Southeast Asian nations will cooperate with China to develop alternative sources of energy because the region cannot rely on fossil fuels, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Tuesday.

Abdullah, speaking after a series of meetings held between leaders of China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said recent high oil prices had taught the region a lesson.

Energy was also high on the agenda at a meeting between Malaysia and China, held on the sidelines of the main events being held in the southern Chinese city of Nanning.

After the bilateral meeting, Abdullah announced that Malaysia's state-owned oil and gas firm Petronas had signed a deal worth $25 billion over 25 years to supply liquefied natural gas to Shanghai LNG Co.

Abdullah, who celebrated three years in office Tuesday, said, "We cannot depend forever on fossil fuels, which are depletable. We must go for other sources of energy that are renewable and environmentally friendly."

He said in his country's bilateral meeting with China, Chinese officials had said there needs to be cooperation on finding alternative energy sources with ASEAN members.

Abdullah said the series of meetings -- including a commemorative summit, a trade fair, an investment forum and bilateral meetings --had been "beneficial" to both China and ASEAN countries.

The main event was the commemorative summit, which marked the 15th anniversary of relations between China and ASEAN.

Abdullah said ASEAN members welcome Chinese investment in their countries and see China as an opportunity.

"We have reason to believe, we have always believed, that China has never been a threat. Seeing China as a threat is wrong," he said.

Trade between China and ASEAN grew by a year-on-year figure of 23 percent in 2005 to $130 billion. In 1991, when relations between the two sides were established, that figure was just $8 billion.

As well as the LNG deal, Petronas also announced in Nanning a deal with Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile Corporation to produce the Malaysian firm's engines. The project is scheduled to start in 2009, with an annual production capacity of 100,000 units.

ASEAN has 10 members: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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