US-China Relations in the 21st Century: What it means for Malaysia

    Date 16 January 2020
    Time 9:30am
    Venue Conference Room, ISIS Malaysia
    Status By invitation

    Presentation by
    Dr Michael Tai
    Professor of Development Studies,
    Beijing Institute of Technology, Zhuhai; and
    Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society

    The worst period of international history is when trust breaks down between nations. How to build trust between great powers is the key problem in international relations, and wise leadership is necessary to avoid conflict between established and rising powers. It is difficult for established powers to make concessions to rising powers, and there is the danger of the rising powers growing too fast. Leaders must have the desire to compromise and be inclusive, but domestic forces pressing for a hard line may oppose a conciliatory posture.

    US-China relations is at a crossroads. How can both sides build trust and cooperate to prevent climate chaos, financial crisis and catastrophic war? Hardliners in Washington favour confrontation rather than engagement with China, and there are signs amid the ongoing “trade war” of a decoupling of the world’s two largest economies. The assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani shows once again how reckless President Donald Trump is, and given that 44 per cent of China’s oil comes from West Asia, how should Beijing respond to hostilities in the Straits of Hormuz? The Straits of Malacca is the next most important choke point for oil supplies to China. How will this determine Beijing’s relations with Kuala Lumpur?

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