Politics

In this file photo taken on 19 January 2021, Taiwan’s tank troops line up for photographs after a drill in Hsinchu military base. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan: Why China-US relations are a zero-sum game

Chinese academic Ni Lexiong says that so long as a country's territorial sovereignty is in conflict with the hegemonic system governing the world, the likelihood of escalation to war is there. That is why despite any of the posturing at the recent Alaska talks, the situation between China and the US remains deadlocked in a zero-sum game.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow, Russia, 23 February 2021. (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russia in Southeast Asia: Falling influence despite being largest arms seller

Although Russia has been increasing its defence diplomacy activities in Southeast Asia, its military cooperation with the region remains overwhelmingly focused on arms sales. However, Russia is at risk of losing its position as the number one arms seller to Southeast Asia due to increased competition from American, European and Asian defence companies. Besides, Russian navy port calls to Southeast Asia and combined military exercises in the region are infrequent and small-scale compared to those of the US and China. ISEAS academic Ian Storey examines how Russia might expand its influence.
Ai Weiwei in Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal, 3 March 2021. (Pedro Nunes/Reuters)

Do artworks need to be patriotic? Hong Kong politicians fight over Ai Weiwei's 'middle finger photograph'

In itself, a subversive artwork by Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei to be shown at Hong Kong’s new M+ museum may not have drawn such attention. But under the shadow of the national security law in Hong Kong and the looming chief executive election, everything is magnified a hundredfold.
Protesters hold coffins displaying a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (right) during a demonstration in New Delhi on 3 March 2021, to protest against the military coup in Myanmar. (Prakash Singh/AFP)

Why the Chinese are confused by ‘ungrateful’ anti-China sentiments in Myanmar

Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.
People take part in a rally to encourage Canada and other countries as they consider labeling China's treatment of its Uighur population and Muslim minorities as genocide, outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, US, 19 February 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

‘Countering sanctions with sanctions’: Where China’s confidence comes from

China is reacting to sanctions imposed by the West with sanctions of its own, with the latest salvo affecting US and Canadian individuals and entities. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at the factors behind China’s increasing penchant for tit-for-tat sanctions.
Souvenirs featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre) and late communist leader Mao Zedong (right) are seen at a store in Beijing on 2 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China: A good guy or a bad guy?

In the international arena, anti-communism rhetoric is on the rise and the narrative of China as the bad guy is becoming increasingly mainstream. Not only that, the CCP’s return to Red orthodoxy appears to be at odds with the country’s reform in many areas and is adding to misperceptions of China. To truly take national rejuvenation forward and save China from facing unnecessary confrontations internationally, the Communist Party needs to innovate and mould a brand-new socialist image. Can China become the good guy again? Lance Gore finds the answer.
This photo taken on 20 September 2015 shows Chinese farmers picking cotton in the fields during the harvest season in Hami, Xinjiang, China. (STR/AFP)

The fight that never ends: Why are China and the West now fighting over Xinjiang cotton?

While Western and Chinese governments continue their tit-for-tat one-upmanship, multinational companies and their big brands are running greater risks of stepping on political landmines in the Chinese market. But can they stay out of the fray?
People cross a street under the rain at dusk while a shinkansen N700A series, or high speed bullet train, leaves Tokyo on 21 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Balancing China: Can Japan continue to be a reliable power in SEA after Abe?

Academic Victor Teo says that Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has big shoes to fill as his predecessor Shinzō Abe had made visible and significant achievements on both the domestic and diplomatic fronts. With the Biden administration in place in the US, and a rising China amid a post-pandemic world, how will Suga's Japan engage Southeast Asia? Will he reaffirm the “silent” leadership role that Japan has played in the region through economic and security means? Furthermore, Japan has guided the US in regional matters during Trump's presidency and has been keen to include Southeast Asian countries in the Quad. Can Japan fulfil its security goals without seriously antagonising China?  
A general view shows the skyline of Tokyo's Shinjuku area on 22 March 2021. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Chinese academic: Japan is the ‘hidden warrior’ behind China-US competition

Chinese academic Deng Qingbo examines the recent Alaska meeting between China and the US, and concludes that Japan plays a hidden but crucial role in how the China-US relationship is developing. As Japan has much to gain from conflicts and intense competition between China and the US, it may indulge in actions that could worsen such big power competition and land the world in a disastrous situation.