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Overturning unfair treaties is part of good statesmanship

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by Dr Ong Hean Teik

The decision by the new Pakatan government of Malaysia to renegotiate unfair agreements and to postpone the high-speed railway was derided as unethical and not in keeping with ancient Chinese morality by a Singaporean analyst. In fact, ancient Chinese history is full of examples where treaties are broken and far from condemning such behaviour, they are held up as examples of good statecraft.

During the Spring and Autumn period, Yue state's prominent strategist FanLi was held captive together with his king Guojian by the state of Wu. For 3 years, both men on numerous occasions and in every way possible pledged loyalty to Wu, with Guojian even feigning insanity to win release.........

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