Malaysia, the Malacca Straits, Slavery and TPP

An article in the Huffington Post (May 26, 2015) titled “Why the US is Desperate to OK Slavery in Malaysia”, describes the logistical importance of the Strait of Malacca located between Malaysia and Indonesia and through which 60% of global trade passes.  The flows include 85% of the oil imported by China, or 60% of their requirement.  This makes preservation of control of the straits, currently ensured by the US Navy, of strategic importance as China tries to assert its control over its security.  But inclusion of Malaysia in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) requires its classification as a Tier 3 human trafficking country to be lowered, thus the US State Department reclassified Malaysia as a Tier 2 country.  Is the acceptance of steps by Malaysia to change enforcement sufficient to provide the strategic benefit of control of the Malacca Strait for TPP countries? If the Strait of Malacca becomes less reliable for China’s strategic interests, what options might it pursue to ensure its own interests are assured ? Should one balance ethical concerns with strategic interests for TPP or should ethical concerns be nonnegotiable deal breakers ?

About aviyer2010

Professor
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