Malaysia and China’s MSRI: The Road to China Was Taken Before the (Maritime Silk) Road Was Built

  • Jean-Marc F. Blanchard
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Asia-Pacific Political Economy book series (PASTAPPE)


This chapter probes the impact of China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) on Malaysia’s stance toward China and China’s favored policies. It notes that while Malaysia has indeed inclined itself toward China, Kuala Lumpur’s shift occurred before the MSRI and the magnitude of Malaysia’s shift is less than one would expect not just in light of the MSRI, but also given Malaysia’s other substantial economic links with China. Factors driving the disconnect between the MSRI’s/China’s economic lures and Malaysian political behaviors include the economic limits of the MSRI and Malaysia’s broader economic relationship with China and Malaysia’s interest in protecting its sovereignty and national independence. Beyond this, the chapter highlights there are many other political variables that have pushed Malaysia in the direction of China.



The author would like to express his appreciation to Courtland Johnson, Sovinda Po, and Xia Xue for their research assistance. He also would like to thank Xu Jing for her help conforming the chapter to publisher style requirements.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marc F. Blanchard
    • 1
  1. 1.Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational CorporationsLos GatosUSA

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