China is improving relations with its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region amid the US retreat from Asia, but Beijing’s role as the hegemonic power in the region will be very different to the leadership exercised by Washington, British academic Martin Jacques told Radio Sputnik.  On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual meeting of Asia-Pacific defense ministers and military chiefs, that countries in the region can no

longer rely on great powers for their defense. “In this brave new world we cannot rely on great powers to safeguard our interests,” Turnbull said in his inauguration speech at the event in Singapore. Some US allies at the summit expressed concern that the Trump administration will reduce its engagement in the Pacific, leaving the region more open to Chinese dominance.   Malaysia’s defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a meeting with US Defense Secretary James Mattis that Kuala Lumpur was “still trying to figure out” the US’ strategy in Asia. READ MORE