The Power of Ethnic Politics in Foreign Policy Making Decisions: A Comparison of Malaysia’s Mahathir and the Philippines’ Duterte on the Belt Road Initiative | Theros Wong

Malaysia’s rejection of China’s Belt Road Initiative came as a shock to the international community. In order to understand the driving forces behind this rejection, this paper aims to create a structured approach to examine plausible factors that could lead to this policy decision such as economic, geopolitical, and domestic factors. Upon examining these factors in comparison to the Philippines, which accepted the Belt Road investments, I find that domestic ethnic politics serve as a catalyst for Prime Minister Mahathir’s decision to reject China’s Belt Road Initiative.

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