After World War II, the struggle for independence in Southeast Asia was complicated by the onset of the Cold War and the involvement of major external powers in the region, especially the People's Republic of China (PRC). Amid Cold War tensions, an opportunity arose for détente in Malaya in the early 1950s, despite the failure of peace talks between the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the Malayan government. This opportunity arose from the PRC's proclaimed embrace of peaceful coexistence. Chinese leaders adopted the policy in the expectation that the new Malayan government would defer to China's wishes. This expectation proved unfounded; the government of independent Malaya had no desire to be subservient to the PRC. The adverse turn of events for China, and the subsequent emergence of a rift between Moscow and Beijing, thwarted efforts to establish formal ties between the MCP and the Malayan government, prompting the Malayan Communists to resume their campaign of guerrilla warfare.

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