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Beijing and KL boosting security ties

Updated On: Apr 14, 2006

Chinese Defense Minister, Cao Gangchuan was in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (10 April) at the invitation of Malaysian DPM and Defence Minister, Najib Tun Razak. They exchanged views over the two countries' relations and ties between the armed forces. Cao, who is also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of China and a state councilor, said China and Malaysia are close and friendly neighbors and the cooperation between the countries has been expanding in various fields in recent years. Malaysia’s worldview has converged with Beijing’s in recent years from its former Prime Minister’s brand of anti-Western rhetoric to the calmer multilateralist worldview which the current prime minister has. Beijing in turn is seeking a multipolar world to counter what it sees as the hegemony of the US. The Defence Minister from China is in KL with a mission to actualize this conceptual convergence in international politics and boost existing security ties. The first step according to the Chinese side is for increased naval joint exercises, search and rescue missions as well as personnel exchanges. Such suggestions have been taken up by the Malaysian counterpart who then raised the possibility of Malaysian naval ships being invited to China for joint search and rescue missions. With such warmth in military ties, Malaysia seems to be following on the heels of Indonesia which too is seeking closer relations with China and other regional powers. This display of Beijing-KL closeness is significant as it came at a time when Washington is expressing its concern about the increasing Chinese influence in the region. Washington has more than once expressed its alarm at the Chinese military budget and Condi Rice has recently expressed reservations that China’s rise may “become a negative force” in the region at the recent trilateral meeting among US, Japan and Australia. Sources: Beijing seeks to boost security links with KL (Straits Times, 11 April 2006) Chinese, Malaysian DMs Discuss Military Ties (Xinhua, 11 April 2006)