(From L to R) President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of China Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a BRICS family photo during the 2023 BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 23 August 2023.

India and China’s volatile new status quo

Sino-Indian relations have languished in a state of suspended animation for four years. A return to stability in the relationship would require, at the least, sustained high-level engagement.
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump holds a sign outside Forrest Fire BBQ restaurant ahead of a campaign event of Republican presidential candidate and former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in Hilton Head, South Carolina, US, on 1 February 2024. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

China does not want Donald Trump to come back

Commentator Jin Jian Guo notes that among those running to be the next US president, former President Donald Trump is China’s least favoured to enter the White House, as he is likely to bring back the harsh measures he imposed against China during his previous term.
Stickers at a polling station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, US, on 3 February 2024. Democrats are holding their primary on February 3, and while Biden is expected to win, he is using the race as a chance to quiet his critics and demonstrate strength among key voter groups. (Grant Baldwin/Bloomberg)

2024 US election: A face-off between common sense and counterintuition

US-based economist He Qinglian notes that with former US President Donald Trump likely to be the Republican candidate in the next US presidential elections, perhaps it is worth taking another look at who his supporters are, as well as the effects of the Democratic policies of the last four years.
The Philippine's Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr (left) and Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (right) attend a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on 30 January 2024. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Philippine President Marcos Jr's visit to Vietnam: Creating a 'united front' over South China Sea issue?

President Marcos Jr’s overtures to Vietnam during his recent visit to Hanoi seem to indicate that ASEAN claimant states are starting to “gang up” on China. But the picture is not so clear-cut, says Chinese academic Peng Nian, when one considers Vietnam’s interests and relations with China.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos (centre) with Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (right) at Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi on 30 January 2024. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Marcos’s visit to Vietnam: When Manila’s pivot meets Hanoi’s pragmatism

Vietnam and the Philippines have agreed to strengthen maritime cooperation in the South China Sea. Digging deeper, however, the two countries are taking distinct approaches in countering the Chinese coercion in the maritime area.
This handout picture provided by the Russian defence corporation Rostec on 24 November 2023 shows a Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jet at the grounds of an aviation firm in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. (Handout/Russian defence corporation Rostec/AFP)

Will Vietnam turn to Russia or America for its new jet fighter?

Vietnam needs to upgrade its ageing fighter fleet. But it faces a list of less than optimal options. Will it go for Russian-made or US-made planes, in consideration of its current diplomatic ties with each?
People walk past a Taiwanese flag in New Taipei City on 13 January 2024. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Survey on US and Taiwan experts: William Lai’s presidency will see a turbulent Taiwan Strait

Commentator Gu Erde looks into a recent survey on China experts from the US and Taiwan, which reveals, among other things, that the Taiwan experts perceive a lower military threat from China than the US experts, but a higher proportion of the US experts is confident that the US would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan in a conflict.
People walk at Ximending shopping district in Taipei on 10 January 2024. (Alastair Pike/AFP)

William Lai could still pursue 'radical Taiwan independence'

Commentator Qi Dongtao notes that even with pro-independence William Lai as Taiwan’s president-elect, he may not be as aggressive as might be expected, as the US might have counselled moderation, while Beijing’s possible reactions would also be taken into consideration. However, that does not mean that the Taiwan Strait will be peaceful.
Pedestrians crossing the road in front of office and commercial buildings in the central business district of China's capital Beijing, on 9 December 2023. (SPH Media)

Fighting 'little emperors': China must not rely on public opinion to rein in power

Public opinion has continued to sway judicial justice in China since ancient times, according to EAI senior research fellow Lance Gore, and this reflects the lack of rule of law in the country and the problems with an authoritarian regime. He discusses why China has not been able to modernise its governance system and the possible reforms to right the wrongs.