The agreement has shown the European Union, ravaged by the pandemic, to be the weaker economic and geopolitical actor. It must now hold China to its pledge to conform to International Labour Organization rules.
China has signalled its interest in large free trade agreements, even those led by the US or Japan. The RCEP is but a small gambit in China’s larger quest to connect its economy with the rest of the world.
Pollsters who predict a win for the ruling Barisan Nasional in the Malaysian election may have failed to capture the psychology of the Malays, who have lost patience with their government as a feeling of aib – shame – sets in.
Friends from abroad just don’t seem as friendly as they once were for the Malaysian prime minister.
For the first time in decades, national debt has become a topic of contention in Malaysia – and voters must decide who will lead them out of the crisis before it becomes crippling.
The opposition is hoping the former prime minister can win over rural Malays and pull off an upset in the upcoming election.