Taipei, May 26 (CNA) Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad lauded the development of relations between Taiwan and Malaysia over the years, during a speech in Taipei on Monday. Malaysia has been working to attract more foreign investment in a bid to boost its economic development and "Taiwan has responded well" to that policy, Mahathir said in his speech organized by the Taipei-based Association of Foreign Relations. Taiwanese investment in Malaysia has played an important role, and many of the companies are in solar panel and other high-tech industries, he added. "We think that the relationship between Malaysia and Taiwan will improve over time," he said. "This is something that will contribute to Malaysia's growth." Mahathir, who served as Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003, also talked about Malaysia's financial goal in the speech titled "Nation Building and Economic Development: The Malaysian Experience." The Southeast Asian country is aiming to become a fully developed country by 2020, he said. To that end, Malaysia has been working to boost its economic development, have a well-educated population and understand the development of new technologies and new science, he said. Malaysia's economic growth stands at around 5 percent every year.
"I believe that with 5 percent growth, we will be able to achieve the financial target for becoming a developed country," Mahathir added. Asked about Taiwan's relations with China and its foreign policy during an question-and-answer session, he said he usually does not comment on other countries' foreign policies. But he said he could talk about Malaysian foreign policies. Malaysia's principle is "to be friends with every country," he said. Malaysia is "very much against war," he said. War is very costly and it requires a lot of money and could involve deaths of people, he added. "We feel that war achieves nothing," he said. Mahathir also took the opportunity to urge cooperation among countries in Asia. This was Mahathir's first visit to Taiwan, and he was invited by the Association of Foreign Relations, which aims to promote Taiwan's ties with other countries. He will wrap up the three-day visit Tuesday, the association said. A day earlier, Mahathir also met with Taiwan's former Vice President Vincent Siew, the honorary chairman of the association. (By Elaine Hou)