Politics

A pedestrian walks on a street near Hamamatsu station in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, on 6 October 2021. (Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg)

Is the ‘rise of China’ to blame for shifting China-Japan relations?

It is easy to see persistent Japan-China tensions as an effect of the rise of China and a tilt in the balance of strength between both countries. But Toh Lam Seng reminds us that from the time of the Meiji Restoration of 1868 onwards, Japan had been coveting mainland China and the Korean Peninsula, and thus Japan and China were never on amicable terms. While Japanese politicians and the media like to play up the China rise factor, China-Japan relations really worsened in the late 1990s when the US and Japan redefined the US-Japan Security Treaty. Is the hawkishness we’re seeing today but an upgraded version of those readjustments?
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his wife, Peng Liyuan. (Internet)

Chinese local government’s two-day seminar on ‘first lady diplomacy’ backfires

A congratulatory letter by Peng Liyuan, spouse of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the inauguration of the new Tianjin Juilliard School may have been viewed as a warm gesture if it was allowed to stay as such. Instead, Tianjin officials organised a two-day seminar and forum urging participants to “learn from the Peng Liyuan spirit”, which ended up drawing flak. A case of less is more?
A screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping attending a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden via video link, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, 16 November 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Xi-Biden virtual summit: Only a 'more polite' meeting

Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong notes that the virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was cordial, with Xi describing both countries as “two giant ships” and Biden calling US and China “major world leaders”. However, academics say that given previous tensions and current tussling, perhaps it is too soon to say for sure that relations will improve from now on.
A motorist rides past a US aircraft displayed in the Vietnam Military History Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 25 August 2021. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Great power rivalry: Why Vietnam is not taking sides

Sokvy Rim explains why Vietnam still chooses to adopt a hedging strategy between the US and China, despite increasing fears of China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea.
This file photo taken on 30 January 2018 shows Taiwanese soldiers staging an attack during an annual drill at a military base in Hualien, Taiwan. (Mandy Cheng/AFP)

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait fear imminent war

Both sides of the Taiwan Strait have experienced anxiety and fear lately, out of escalating US-China tensions and growing speculations on the prospect of war. But how much of this so-called anxiety and fear is being manipulated for political gain by Taiwan’s ruling DPP and the US? For all the bravado seen on internet chatter, when it comes down to it, the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will suffer most in an actual war. Shouldn’t mainland provocateurs think twice before falling into the trap of beating the war drums?
Visitors pose for a picture in front of a national flag sculpture at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on 11 November 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

How the CPC plans to seize the democracy narrative

The Communist Party of China has just passed a resolution on the party’s achievements over its 100-year history, the third of such resolutions. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that the resolution seeks to turn the page on the past and pave the way for the party’s leadership guided by “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”. This includes building a governance framework based on Marxist ideology, and creating a society that supports “whole-process people’s democracy” or “Chinese-style democracy”. Will China be able to beat the West at their own game by seizing the democracy narrative?
This handout photo released by the host broadcast, ASEAN Summit 2021, on 27 October 2021 shows Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah (centre), Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (top L), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (top 2nd L) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (top 2nd R) taking part in the ASEAN-Plus Three Summit on the sidelines of the 2021 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, held online on a live video conference in Bandar Seri Begawan. (Handout/ASEAN Summit 2021/AFP)

ASEAN’s deft diplomacy with its dialogue partners

Kong Tuan Yuen notes that this year’s virtual 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits achieved several deliverables, including commitments from dialogue partners such as China, Japan and the US for increased Covid-19 assistance and other cooperation. The grouping also agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China and Australia respectively. ASEAN’s desire to maintain its centrality is clear from the way it has timed the two comprehensive strategic partnerships and the stance it adopted on ASEAN member state Myanmar's representation.
This file combination of pictures created on 8 June 2021 shows Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and US President Joe Biden, who are scheduled to hold a virtual summit next week. (Nicolas Asfouri and Nicholas Kamm/AFP)

Will a Biden-Xi virtual summit change anything?

A virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will allegedly be held next week. However, with comments from the White House that the meeting is not about deliverables, and the US’s continued attacks such as Biden’s criticism of China’s non-appearance at the recent UN climate change conference in Glasgow, are prospects for major breakthroughs bright? Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong looks at what the session might bring.
(Left to right) Premier Su Tseng-chang, Parliament Speaker You Si-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu have been named by the Taiwan Affairs Office as being “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”. (Internet/SPH)

Are Taiwan's DPP politicians fighting to be blacklisted by Beijing?

In Beijing’s latest effort to discourage notions of independence for Taiwan, it has released a list of Taiwan leaders it considers to be “stubbornly pro-Taiwan independence”, seemingly targeted at Green camp members. However, those on the list are wearing it as a badge of honour, as recognition that they love Taiwan, while those not on the list are clamouring to be blacklisted. Will this move backfire on Beijing instead?