TPP, China and the Asean

Voice Of Asia -

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) turning into a tussle between the United States and China and will it only be resolved over which nation will get the upper hand in the control of trade and investment, and by extension, political domination in the South East Asia (SEA) region?

To understand how deep are the resentments among nations like Japan, the United States and Australia towards the constant rise of China in the SEA region, and how strong is the desire by Washington in particular to thwart Beijing’s influence within the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the views of Malaysian political figures are expressed here.

According to several reliable and international sources, the ramifications over China’s rise in the SEA region is part of the propaganda battle by the US within the ASEAN region, brandishing perceived threats of China’s intent to dominate the region, both militarily and politically.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the stalwart ageing politician and former Prime Minister of Malaysia is non-compromising in his belief that the United States has concocted the TPP in a bid to battle China with a nasty trade war, that involves the SEA and the Asia Pacific region.

A renown critic of US global policies, Mahathir also said in several interviews and writings on his own blog that Malaysia is being dragged into this ‘trade war‚Äô against China and that this is putting at risk the unity of the.

According to Mahathir, China is Malaysia’s major trade partner having ousted Singapore from the pole position in trade figures. Any attempt to ally with the Americans by blindly following the TPP will be seen by Beijing as an attempt to undermine China’s relations with Malaysia, he said.

Dr Mahathir questions the Malaysian government’s move to embrace the TPP without really looking into the potential complications posed by the TPP now that Japan has joined the US and Australia in the dubious trade pact and is outwardly seen as an alliance to oust China as the leading nation in the SEA region.

The issue of how the TPP would affect the China-Malaysia relationship, as explained by Dr Mahathir, is a tricky one. The US, Mahathir insisted, is attempting at wooing Malaysia into the TPP to push forward its agenda of undermining China in the region and this will have the boomerang effect of destroying the unity within the Asean movement.

In general, Mahathir meant the US was trying to pull China out of the Asean unity and to join forces with the US in order to battle against China along the likes of Australia, Japan, Vietnam (which has more grudges against China these days) and this is an unhealthy prospect altogether.


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