31 October 2016
Malaysia’s prime minister arrived in China on Monday with warm words for his hosts, a thirst for Chinese money and, for the first time, a promise of significantly closer defense ties with the purchase of Chinese naval coastal patrol ships.
Najib Razak called himself a “true friend” of China, determined to take their relationship to “new heights” — echoing the pro-China outreach by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte two weeks ago when he proclaimed a “separation” from his country’s longtime U.S.-oriented policies.
The twin nods toward China reinforce the regional narrative of American decline and China’s inexorable rise. They also showcase Beijing’s apparent ability to buy off rivals for disputed territory in the South China Sea, which China claims as its own despite strong objections from the Pentagon and U.S. allies in the region.
… China may have power, money and influence, but its aggressive assertion of its South China Sea claims has alienated other nations and pushed them toward Washington, said Yang Razali Kassim, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 01/11/2016