Malaysia's Great Power Balance and the South China Sea Disputes
ARMY WAR COLLEGE CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Malaysia is one of several Southeast Asian countries that claim a portion of the South China Sea that is also claimed by China. However, Malaysia has chosen to downplay this dispute in the interest of furthering positive relations with China, in particular economically. In recent years Malaysia has also improved its political and military relations with the U.S. the two countries have long enjoyed strong economic ties. Malaysian policy thus can be viewed as seeking a balance between the two great powers improved economic ties with China lessen Malaysian economic dependence on the U.S., while stronger political and military ties with the U.S. help hedge against Chinese dominance in Southeast Asia. Malaysia will continue to promote strong bilateral relationships with both countries, promote their ties to ASEAN, and continue to promote resolution of the South China Sea disputes on a multilateral basis through ASEAN.
- Government and Political Science