WASHINGTON – The way Asian states interplay with the United States (US) and China will determine whether Asia’s big rise brings a new era of co-operation and peace, said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib said Asean, which speaks for 600 million people, will play a part in managing that relationship.
The Prime Minister said that Malaysia has a strong relationship with both the US and China and has a shared interest in stable, secure and peaceful region.
“I believe that by pursuing peace within our borders and co-operation in our region, we can show that Asia’s remarkable growth can bring a better world, a safer, more sustainable world. We can honour the promise placed in us, by the people of Asia, and all those who look to Asia, in hope and expectation,” he said in his keynote address at the Georgetown University, here on Tuesday.
Najib who in his speech outlined key issues affecting Asia’s security said that there were several key questions and issues that would shape Asia’s near future such as the rise of China, the US’ pivot towards Asia and Japan’s increasing engagement in the region.
Najib said the world had seen first-hand the astonishing economic development which had propelled China to its current heights and how the changes in China’s economy had opened up new opportunities for its neighbours and partners.
However, he said that aside from trying to understand-and replicate-China’s success, observers also wanted to know whether China’s rise would be primary peaceful and economic, or martial and assertive.
“We welcome the peaceful rise of China. We have seen that a China which pursues peace, stability and mutual development is an invaluable partner for developed and developing countries alike,” he said.
On the role of the US, Najib said Malaysia believed that America would remain a Pacific power, and in the medium term, America’s continued commitment towards peace, stability and prosperity was welcomed by many Asian voices, who valued the friendship built over many years of bilateral and regional relations.
“But there is also concern that the stage is being set for a new ‘great game’, that Asia – and in particular, East and South East Asia – will find itself at the heart of a struggle between rival superpowers,” he said. – Bernama