When Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, paid an official visit to China in May 1974, it secured Malaysia a place in the annals of regional diplomatic history as the first ASEAN country to establish full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This book analyses the process of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, and provides a detailed explanation and understanding of the decision- making process in Malaysia. Shedding light on the roles played by the various principal actors in the process of foreign policy formulation and the influences - both internal and external - that shaped Malaysia's behaviour, the book highlights why Malaysia decided to pursue a policy of normalisation with China, culminating in the visit in 1974, and in particular why it became the first ASEAN country to establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese.
After Malaysia's recognition of Beijing, two other ASEAN states followed suit, namely Thailand and the Philippines, and the book discusses whether there was some degree of policy coordination amongst ASEAN countries in dealing with China, or if both these countries gave way for Malaysia to be the first. The book also looks at the policy debates within some ASEAN countries regarding relations with China, either conducted officially or unofficially, bilaterally or otherwise. This book will be of interest to scholars of Asian Politics, Asian History, International Relations and Foreign Policy.