More to statecraft than meets the eye, minister tells PPBM leader
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Malaysia’s diplomatic conduct is shaped by the realities of the world as well as its own objectives, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman told an Opposition party leader critical of the country’s tactful approach.
Responding to PPBM supreme council member Rais Husin who accused Malaysia of impotence and insignificance in the geopolitics involving the US, China, the Middle East and North Korea, the foreign affairs minister noted Malaysia was clear and consistent in its stands.
Anifah also called the PPBM leader intentionally obtuse in his assessment of Malaysia’s influence in the diplomatic arena, pointing out that statecraft was not only about the desires of any single nation.
“The conduct of Malaysia’s foreign policy will continue to be guided by the principles of respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non–interference in the affairs of other nations, peaceful settlement of disputes, peaceful co–existence and mutual benefit in relations,” he said in a statement.
He explained that Malaysia was both dependent on international trade and a small nation relative to global superpowers, and as such needed to adopt a collaborative approach with all the world’s nations.
Increasing trade and investments from China were also not a sign that Malaysia was coming under the “orbit of its influence” as Rais claimed, Anifah said when pointing that Malaysia enjoyed similarly cordial ties with the US, UK, Australia, France, Singapore and more.
Anifah said the same applied to Malaysia hosting foreign military vessels, noting that such visits were not extraordinary and beneficial to the local economy.
Commenting on Rais’ assessment that Malaysia did nothing to address China’s growing presence in the region or the growing belligerence of North Korea, Anifah explained that Malaysia’s efforts on both topics have been “well-received” by the global community.
“Malaysia has done admirably in advancing discourse on these issues, taking into account that Asean works on the principle of consensus, and as Chairman, Malaysia is merely a facilitator.”