05 January 2015
While Malaysia remains fully committed to a “common ASEAN position” in terms of engaging China on the South China Sea disputes, it does not want this to affect its good bilateral relations with Beijing – as do several other ASEAN states. It is unlikely that KL will change its hedging policy.
As Malaysia assumes its chairmanship of ASEAN for 2015, one of its top priorities will be to address the pressing issue of the South China Sea disputes, of which Kuala Lumpur is one of six claimants. However, one key question is how Malaysia could achieve any breakthrough since the country has placed a high priority on maintaining good overall ties with Beijing.
Even though Prime Minister Najib Razak also stressed Malaysia would promote moderation to address conflict and find solutions to issues concerning regional peace and security, I would argue that Kuala Lumpur is unlikely to abandon its hedging policy in managing the South China Sea disputes. The prospect of a solution, including the conclusion of the Code of Conduct, therefore, remains vague in the near future.
…Nguyen Huu Tuc is a Vietnamese researcher and analyst who is doing his postgraduate studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. The views expressed in this article are his own.
GPO / Online
Last updated on 03/12/2015