Politics

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 18 May 2018. (Reuters/Stringer/File Photo)

5 nuclear-weapon states vow no arms race: A more peaceful world?

China has made no bones about its role in shepherding a first-ever P5 joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding an arms race. While the release of the statement shows some rational thought and mutual respect among the five nuclear powers, is it of any significance in moderating conflicts between nation-states and preventing possible fights in hotspots such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait?
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) poses for a photograph with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during their bilateral meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 9 January 2022. (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean: Wang Yi’s visit to Comoros, Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s swing through three strategic island states — the Comoros, Maldives, and Sri Lanka — as part of his annual African tour at the beginning of January underlines China’s continuing quest for a larger role in the Indian Ocean. Are China’s economic incentives and themes of non-intervention and sovereign equality resonating with the Indian Ocean littoral at the expense of India and the US?
Troops are seen at the main square where hundreds of people were protesting against the government, after authorities' decision to lift price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 6 January 2022. (Mariya Gordeyeva/Reuters)

China and Russia’s shared interest in preventing a pro-US Kazakhstan

To help quell the current unrest in Kazakhstan, Russia sent troops while China gave only verbal support to Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Despite their different levels of commitment, Russia and China share a common desire not to see Kazakhstan developing closer ties with the US. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses the situation.
Leaves lay on the ground as pedestrians and bicycle riders are seen in front of the Reichstag building housing the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, on 19 October 2021. (Ina Fassbender/AFP)

Germany between the US and China

With a new chancellor in place, how Germany will adjust its approach to China amid growing rivalry between the two superpowers is an issue that is closely watched by many countries around the world. US academic Zhu Zhiqun examines the possibilities.
China Customs officers raise a Chinese flag during a rehearsal for a flag-raising ceremony along the Bund past buildings in the Lujiazui Financial District at sunrise in Shanghai, China, on 4 January 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

The Chinese ruling party needs a new pact with the people to forge a more humane and self-confident nation

Lance Gore notes the transitional nature of the third historical resolution passed by the Communist Party of China (CPC) recently. It kept Pandora’s box closed, leaving issues of history unresolved. Will the CPC use a fourth historical resolution to build a pact with the people to forge a vibrant, humane, self-confident nation on the world stage?
Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda speaks to the press at the end of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, on 15 December 2021. (Olivier Hoslet/AFP)

Did Lithuania do a U-turn on the ‘Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania’?

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda recently commented that it was "a mistake" to allow Taipei to open a representative office using the name Taiwan. Is this a climb-down by Lithuania following economic and political backlash from Beijing or more a reflection of policy rifts within the small Baltic state? And will the EU and the US pay more than lip service to stiffen Lithuania’s resolve?
A rider travels on an empty road following lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, 26 December 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Lessons from Xi’an: Why there is no one-size-fits-all solution to Covid-19

China’s insistence on a zero-Covid strategy puzzles many but Han Yong Hong believes that the country may have little choice. She explains China’s unique circumstances and the challenges it faces.
This handout photo taken on 2 December 2021 and released by the Indonesian fleet command Koarmada I on 4 December 2021 shows the ASEAN countries' navy ships off the waters of Andaman during a joint exercise between the Indonesian Navy, the Russian Navy and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members. (Indonesian Fleet Command Koarmada I/AFP)

Stuck in second gear: Indonesia’s strategic dilemma in the Indo-Pacific

Indonesia's strategic resources and political leadership are heavily directed inwards, leaving little bandwidth to invest in options beyond the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) to address Indo-Pacific strategic challenges. For pressing challenges, whether over the South China Sea, Myanmar or other Indo-Pacific flashpoints like Taiwan, Indonesia needs to invest in non-ASEAN options as well. Furthermore, it would help to have a "centralised hub" under the president’s office to coordinate its strategies.
A staff member walks near a poster with an illustration of China's space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 14 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

In a US-China war, will the first blow be struck in space?

Recent Chinese animosity against Elon Musk and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites attests to the understanding that information systems will be key in future warfare. If there comes a day when SpaceX’s envisioned 42,000 Starlink satellites are deployed and positioned, it would technically be feasible to put up a “space blockade” against the enemy. Evidently, both China and the US see the strategic implications and are stepping up the space race.