Politics

U.S. President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., 13 May 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Can America beat China with Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans?

US-based Chinese researcher Zhou Nongjian takes a close look at Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans to improve the US economy and meet the challenge from China. He asserts that infrastructure-building and poverty assistance plans are stop-gap measures that will not address fundamental problems such as the US’s loss of industries and declining national strength. Is the US president putting the cart before the horse?
US President Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on 13 May 2021. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

Strategic Competition Act: The US targeting China through Cold War politics?

Economics professor Zhu Ying looks at the similarities and differences between NSC-68 targeting the Soviet Union during the Cold War period, and the recent Strategic Competition Act targeting China, which may soon pass into law. What can we infer about the current state of China-US relations?
People visit the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu River during a Labour Day holiday in Shanghai on 1 May 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Is the US embassy in China recruiting ‘traitors’?

The US embassy in China recently released an Public Annual Statement outlining the requirements for funding through its public diplomacy grants programme. As the activities it supports aim to spread American values and culture in China, Chinese commentators have aired criticisms that this is an insidious attempt to “recruit traitors” within China. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan considers the theories behind this idea.
People walk along Nanjing Road, a main shopping area in Shanghai, China, 10 May 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Post-70s generation CPC stars jockey for position ahead of 20th Party Congress in 2022

In the CPC’s leadership renewal plans, the post-70s generation plays a leading role, having by this time risen to middle and senior positions. Yang Danxu takes stock of political stars in this generation as they take up key positions at the provincial level in the lead-up to the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s 20th Party Congress in 2022.
Workers load boxes with Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac on a truck, the first shipment vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to arrive in the country, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, 28 February 2021. (Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)

Covid-19 pandemic and China's rising soft power in mainland Southeast Asia

The Covid-19 pandemic provides a window of opportunity for China to exert its international leadership and influence. It has managed to turn the crisis into a diplomatic and strategic opportunity in mainland Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Public health diplomacy has become one of the key sources of China’s soft power projection, enhancing China’s image and influence. Cambodia and Laos have been most receptive to China’s public health diplomacy, including its vaccine diplomacy, while Thailand and Myanmar also have welcomed Chinese assistance. But Vietnam has been reluctant to endorse China’s Covid-19 assistance, including receiving Chinese vaccines.
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (centre) leaves after a lower house budget committee session at parliament in Tokyo on 10 May  2021. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Has Japan 'crossed the Rubicon' in Japan-China relations?

With China's increasingly strong rhetoric on its core interests and its criticism of Japan's recent diplomatic moves, Japanese academic Tomoki Kamo takes stock of China-Japan relations and moves that Japan might make in its overall strategy.
A screen shows Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on 7 May 2021. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP)

Japanese academic: Biden's emphasis on allies is impacting Japan-China relations

Relations between Japan and China have been on an uptrend in the past few years. Even after the new Suga administration came to power, the trend of improving relations has been maintained. However, with the Biden administration's emphasis on working with its allies, ostensibly against China, will Japan-China relations suffer?
A man wearing a face mask amid Covid-19 concerns waits on his scooter near a billboard of the late Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, 4 May 2021. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Feisty and delicate: Vietnam's approach to handling great power rivalry

Vietnam’s domestic and foreign policy structures held up well in 2020 in the face of significant challenges involving Covid-19, chairing ASEAN, and relations with China and the US. Vietnam continued to maintain a delicate balance between China and the US, while at the same time retaining a strategic option to pursue deeper defence and military relations with the US. Its ability to maintain and enhance agency, in particular in its relations with Beijing, offers lessons for other Southeast Asian countries facing the same dilemma.
A food delivery motorist rides on a street as deliveries rise due to lockdown restrictions introduced to try to halt a surge in cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Phnom Penh on 26 April 2021. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Japan passes China in the sprint to win Cambodian hearts and minds

Since 2010, Japan’s foreign policy toward Cambodia includes a new geopolitical dimension of balancing China’s influence in Cambodia, including strategies such as non-interference in Cambodia’s domestic affairs and providing development assistance that aligns with the Cambodian government’s development plan, focusing on infrastructure, human capital development, and agriculture. Japan has been relatively successful given the Cambodian population’s mixed reactions to China’s engagement in Cambodia. And it seems that Cambodia will continue to benefit from Japan's balancing-China strategy, as long as China-Japan rivalry stays manageable.