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(From South China Morning Post)
Byline: Fred von der Mehden
THE PAST quarter-century has seen a major expansion in economic, political and religious contacts between the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This relationship was engendered in the 1970s by the growing economic strength of the two regions, Southeast Asian reactions to events in the Middle East and the worldwide Islamic revival.
At one level, the relationship is based upon developing economic ties. Although neither trade nor investment statistics show the Middle East to be a regular top 10 partner with any Southeast Asian state, both are of considerable importance. Initial petro-dollars invested in Southeast Asia were followed by a growing pattern of Southeast Asian investments in oil-rich Middle Eastern states. Petroleum was …