Malaysia as the ‘iron brother’ of China?

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COMMENT | China is, without a doubt, a civilisation, and a massive nation. One, when combined, is quite capable of building a 60-storey building within a single month; as it did in Hunan province.

In fact, if one Googles the 10 biggest projects in China, the results are both impressive and shocking. All the projects range in the tens of billions of US dollars too with equal measure.

Put differently, if China wants to, it could wipe out the entire debt of 1MDB - at RM43 billion and counting - with a single stroke of the pen by President Xi Jinping or even Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

To be sure, there had been signs that Xi had indeed done just that. The Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is connected to a long and winding highway across the entire stretch of the country, before finally ending in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, in China, is estimated to cost RM32 billion.

Well, knowing the limitations of Pakistan, China paid for, built it, and had effectively secured a strategic land and sea route into the Indian Ocean. But that's Pakistan - often known in China as the “iron brother”.

The benefit to being an ‘iron brother’, is of course aplenty. Aside from Gwadar port and highway, Pakistan can get other forms of economic assistance too, all of which are there to prevent Pakistan from any economic or financial collapse.

In exchange, like all ‘iron brothers’, Pakistan is supposed to hold India in check, indeed, to keep the entire Indian army and nuclear force focused on Pakistanis - rather than the Chinese.

Perhaps this is the price Pakistan is willing to pay due to the rivalry with India. After all, well before its first nuclear test and tit-for-tat against India in 1998, its former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had once famously said: “"Even if Pakistanis had to eat grass, by God, we will have nuclear weapons.”

This is what Pakistan wished for as early as 1970s, and got nearly 30 years later. But this nuclear deterrent came at a huge cost.

While Islamabad could go eyeball-to-eyeball with New Delhi, and the nuclear capability to put India in place, it now permanently risks a nuclear wipeout, too.

Now, granted the horror of this spectre, did China promise Pakistan - its ‘iron brother’ - that in the event of an Indian nuclear attack, Beijing would lob a few nuclear-tipped missiles against India, too? Never!...

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