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China to invest more than $2b in Malaysia steel, port

Published on Feb 5, 2013 10:19 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Chinese firms will invest more than US$1.6 billion (S$2 billion) to build steel, aluminium and palm oil processing plants and expand a port in a new industrial zone on the Malaysian east coast, Malaysia announced on Tuesday.

The Chinese spending is part of total joint investments of 10.5 billion ringgit expected by 2020 in the new Kuantan Industrial Park as Beijing moves to deepen its ties with the Southeast Asian nation.

China has rapidly moved to expand its diplomatic, cultural and economic influence in Southeast Asia in recent years, from funding mega-dams and casinos in the Mekong region to pushing its territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The signing comes a day after Malaysia was criticised by Human Rights Watch for what the group said was the deportation to China of six asylum seekers from the Uighur ethnic minority.

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