US-China trade war makes ASEAN difficult to plan policies – Mohamad Sabu

Mohamad Sabu addressing the dialogue session at Wisma Perwira on Tuesday (Jan.22)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Minister of Defence, Mohamad Sabu said China’s rise as a great power today has affected the existing super power which is the United States of America.

 He said, the shifting relationship between United States and China continues to have great impact on East Asia.

“Because US influence extends beyond its borders, US has been comfortable exercising this power.

“US was unchallenged after the fall of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, China’s rise in the two last decades has given it greater hard and soft power to spread its influence and challenge America,” he said.

 Mohamad Sabu said that in his opening speech at the dialogue session “Navigating the Risks of Thucydides Trap: US-China Relations and Southeast Asian Responses” at Wisma Perwira here today.

The minister added, the Thucydides Trap is an ancient prediction that when one great power rises, it will threaten the current great power and lead to war.

 Currently he said, China and US contention with each other have remained mostly in the economic sphere.

“There has been a 90 day truce in the trade war. There was also recent arrests and counter arrests of Chinese nationals abroad and western nationals in China.

“Malaysia is positioned in the middle and we are a small state in comparison to the two super powers.

 “The ASEAN is also a small power and as such we have limited choices in exercising power to influence the international system,” he reiterated.

 Mohamad also warned the ASEAN to be careful in making responses to decisions made by the Great Powers. Both actors are unpredictable and this makes policy planning more difficult for ASEAN states. -Malaysia Workd News

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