China asks for 'friendly consultation' in Malaysia dispute

BEIJING — China's government has expressed hope Malaysia's dispute with a state-owned Chinese company building two multimillion-dollar gas pipeline projects can be resolved through "friendly consultation."

A foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday the project being built by a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. was "carried out in accordance with the contract."

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Monday his government had seized over 1 billion ringgit ($243) from the bank account of China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau because the projects worth 9.4 billion ringgit ($2.3 billion) had been cancelled. He said Malaysia was entitled to it as 80 percent of the cost had been paid but only 13 percent of work done.

Chinese spokesman, Geng Shuang, said "for problems arising in cooperation, the two sides should properly resolve them through friendly consultation."

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