Politics

People walk in Kimironko Market in Kigali, Rwanda on 26 June 2022. (SPH Media)

Small nations' survival strategy for a world in flux: Lessons from Rwanda and Timor-Leste

Lim Jim Koon, former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, SPH Media, looks at the current world in flux and its focus on great power rivalry. He reminds us that small nations have their place in this world too and their survival and growth must not be lightly brushed aside. Rwanda and Timor-Leste may not be countries in the spotlight, but these are small nations with tenacity, sharing common interests and goals with Singapore.
People read a newspaper covering the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China at a public display stand in Beijing, China, 24 October 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Xi's CCP practises Leninism of the 21st century. But could it end up as empty talk?

East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore observes that “Xi Jinping Thought” is really Leninism of the 21st century, or an amalgam of dictums that bear the risk of stifling social vitality and creativity. Not only that, a high concentration of power is a strength but also a weakness if cadres are afraid of deviating from the views of “the great leader”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping awarded the Friendship Medal to Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in a grand award ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, on 31 October 2022. (Xinhua)

China’s diplomacy in full swing after 20th Party Congress

Diplomatic activities appear to be back at full swing after the 20th Party Congress. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that the visits by heads of states to China are driven by Beijing’s objectives of bringing its neighbours close, stabilising relations with Europe, and strengthening relations with developing countries. Will this help improve China’s relations and international image, especially amid the tense geopolitical background?
Delegates during the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 22 October 2022. (Bloomberg)

Death of China’s factional politics

Academic Lu Xi notes that the traditional notions of factional politics of the Chinese Communist Party has changed following the 20th Party Congress. With a greater centralisation of power, jousting among any remaining factions or subfactions will likely prove less relevant.
People use their mobile phones outside a closed down business in Hong Kong on 1 November 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Hong Kong's left turn could hit its financial centre status

Commentator Lew Mon-hung explores seven contradictions that he observes in the “one country, two systems” policy for Hong Kong, including the stand on the private sector, governance issues, and the dynamic zero-Covid policy. All of these factors have had an impact on Hong Kong, and it remains to be seen how these points will be addressed to ensure the special administrative region’s growth.
US President Joe Biden (facing camera, third from right) meets with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (fourth from right), and Defence Department leaders to discuss national security priorities, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on 26 October 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Biden’s National Security Strategy: An Asia-first strategy codified by Europeanists

Washington’s new National Security Strategy has been carefully crafted, but the document hosts a number of inherent tensions. Foremost among them is the fact that putting democracy at the center of a strategy that is increasingly Asia-focused is ill-advised.
A member of the security staff keeps watch in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on 16 October 2022, ahead of the opening session of the 20th Party Congress. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Beijing faces a huge deficit of trust after 20th Party Congress

As members of the 20th Politburo and its Standing Committee take the helm and usher in a new era of “China-style modernisation”, the market and public are showing clear signs of anxiety and dissatisfaction. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that the new leadership will have their work cut out for them to deliver the Chinese story well to its people and the outside world.
A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking during his first Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on 26 October 2022. (Jessica Taylor/AFP)

The UK's 'tilt' towards the Indo-Pacific may not be sustainable

The UK has launched a robust “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific. To its credit, it has executed a series of high-profile diplomatic engagements and military deployments to the region. The question, however, is not about London’s desire to engage with the dynamic region but whether this tilt can be sustained.
US President Joe Biden gestures to the media as he walks towards Marine One for departure to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, US, 7 August 2022. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)

The US's new National Security Strategy: An action plan to defeat China

The US’s recent release of its new National Security Strategy (NSS) represents its vow to outcompete its rivals, especially China, on the international stage. Political commentator Jin Jian Guo says that the ideological tussle between China and the US is becoming a new Cold War and for the NSS to be released during the period of China’s 20th Party Congress, the starter’s pistol has been fired in a strategic competition where there can only be one winner.