KUALA LUMPUR: China’s growing influence among Asean countries may change the script for Asean’s integration, according to Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid.
Munir said that being a rising power, China would attract various relationships among countries in Asean.
He cited the examples of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand having strong links with Yunnan and Guangxi, which form a subregion that is dynamic on its own in Asean.“There will be links with China, but that [subregion indicates that] there would be a two-part Asean. It is not good or bad but the Asean integration may not happen according to the script because the rise of China brings up opportunities and challenges to different Asean countries.
“So it is interesting that we talk about the One Belt, One Road initiative, which tends to divide Asean — though it is not China’s motive necessarily to do so. However, it is the way the member states respond to China that divides Asean anyway,” he opined.