The US and China in the Malay Archipelago
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, US measures to improve counter-terrorism and maritime security in the Malay Archipelago, home to the world's largest population of Muslims, have led to a heightened US role and presence in the region. However, this has sparked fears in China over the ability of the US in interdicting vital waterways in a region which China increasingly relies on for its economic development. China has therefore also worked hard to improve relations with states in the Malay Archipelago. The states in the region have responded to the increased Sino-US strategic rivalry by adopting a classic hedging strategy, whereby they hope to reap the benefits of US security assistance and assurances while at the same time engaging with a resurgent China. However, this is a difficult challenge and there are dangers that the deepening US-China strategic rivalry could yet embroil the region in new conflicts.