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  • Writer's pictureBait Al-Amanah

Malaysia’s China Policy Amid China’s Growing Security Concerns

Fikry A. Rahman, the Head of Foreign Affairs of Bait Al Amanah have published a chapter in Pacific Forum's Issues & Insight Volume 23 titled 'Malaysia China Policy Amid China's Growing Security Concerns'.

Abstract

As Malaysia-China relations are heavily underpinned by economic imperatives, Malaysia needs to navigate China’s growing security concerns. This chapter aims to unpack China’s two-pronged strategic behavior that creates ambivalent relations with Malaysia. The Chinese two-pronged strategic behavior lies in a compelling economic web of Malaysian trade and infrastructure while continuing to be assertive in Malaysian waters, which creates a pressing security concern for Malaysia. I argue that it is high time for Malaysia to realign its maritime strategy according to the Defence White Paper and the latest Malaysian Foreign Policy Framework, by gradually departing from its low-profile response towards a robust stance against China’s assertiveness. The Paper and the Framework clearly stipulate its strategy in protecting its territorial integrity and sovereignty which are currently being challenged by Chinese encroachment and incursion into the South China Sea. Despite Malaysia’s economic imperative with China that the latter possessed monumental influence, it should not be reaped by compromising Malaysia’s national interest. Thus, Malaysia must strike a balance by conceiving a robust maritime strategy that lies between maximizing economic potential and audaciously contending with maritime challenges. Moving forward, Malaysia must utilize every avenue possible to stake its claim in the maritime disputes and challenges that threaten Malaysian territorial integrity. This includes vehemently using diplomatic channels, accelerating the submission under The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), enhancing a national strategy on maritime security, and, finally, engaging in minilateral and regional cooperation amid emerging extra-regional contestation in the South China Sea.


The full edited volume can be found here.

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