Greater engagement with China is needed — Liew

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PETALING JAYA (Jan 23): With China getting stronger politically and economically, with high potential to become a superpower in the foreseeable future, it is only proper that Malaysia considers greater engagement with the country.  

Deputy Defence Minister Senator Liew Chin Tong opined that the relationship should also see China engaging towards Malaysia as well, in a much softer and tender way or an approach that both countries would be comfortable with.

“However, the basic idea is that Malaysia wants to have a vast and independent foreign policy space...we do not want to be seen as a proxy to anyone in the years to come, but at the same time we want meaningful engagement,” he said, stressing that this was his personal opinion and should not be taken in the context of his role as the Deputy Defence Minister.

Liew was one of the panellists in the 'National Security Framework for ASEAN in a Multi-Polar World' forum organised by Jeffrey Cheah Institute (JCI) on Southeast Asia, here today.

“Moving forward, when we talk about bigger powers, we need to maintain equal distance, we do not want to be extremely close to China, nor to the United States, we want to be able to say we are both your friends,” he added.

The forum was held to look into matters of regional and national interests, providing a platform for innovative policy discussion and fostering intellectual discourse on wide-ranging topics, ranging from security to sustainability.

The first JCI Forum for this year examines how nations should cope in a new post-Cold War and post-hegemonic international order.