Politics

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects Indonesian navy ships at Lampa Strait Navy Base, 8 January 2020. (Indonesia Cabinet Secretariat website)

Indonesia crosses swords with China over South China Sea: 'Bombshell to stop China's expansionism'?

Indonesia has recently taken a firmer position vis-à-vis China on the South China Sea (SCS). This was described by some as the first time that any of Manila’s Southeast Asian neighbours had stood up and endorsed the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal Ruling, which rejected Beijing's claims to most of the critical waterway in SCS and ruled in favour of the Philippines. Is Indonesia's assertive stance “a bombshell to stop China’s expansionism” or “an extension of the Indonesian existing policy”?
In this file photo US President Donald Trump (C) is applauded by former President Barack Obama (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden during Trump's inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2017. (Paul J. Richards/AFP)

Trump or Biden, America's distrust of the Chinese Communist Party will stay 

A new report by the White House has cast China as an ideological threat to cherished liberties and the American way of life. This is a bipartisan approach that will endure even if President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term.
A sticker of the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask is seen on 10 May 2020 in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP)

The US empire will not fall anytime soon, going by ancient China’s experience

In his writings, Norwegian academic Johan Galtung predicted the fall of the US empire in 2020. At this mid point of the year, Deng Xize takes stock and holds fast to his earlier opposition to Galtung’s hypothesis, saying that the US empire is not going anywhere just yet — there is simply no other country that can take on a dominant role in its place.
This file photo taken on 1 October 2019 shows military vehicles carrying HHQ-9B surface-to-air missiles participating in a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Revival of nuclear competition: How should China respond?

As the US and Russia take a more hawkish stance in developing their nuclear capabilities, China may get caught in the fray in this dangerous arena of nuclear power one-upmanship, says Chinese military affairs commentator Song Zhongping. He fears that the US will break its own rules by carrying out traditional nuclear weapon testing, thereby spurring a domino effect.
A pro-democracy activist holds his phone while queueing to pay respects to mark the one year anniversary of a man who fell to his death after hanging a protest banner against the now-withdrawn extradition bill on the scaffolding outside a shopping mall, in Hong Kong on 15 June 2020. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

National security law for Hong Kong: The US will not back down, so where are we headed?

The proposed national security law for Hong Kong is speedily moving along, with the draft text recently reviewed at the 19th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. Nonetheless, US researcher Wei Da says that this issue is a trigger point that impinges on bottom lines that could set off serious conflict and repercussions in the Taiwan Strait. Is the onset of a hot war unfolding before our eyes?
Employees at a plant of Daimler-BAIC joint venture’s Beijing Benz Automotive Co in Beijing, 13 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/REUTERS)

Germany’s China policy: Will economic interests override values?

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a pragmatic approach towards China — specifically, economic interests come first. She has held on to that maxim despite questions from within and outside the government as to whether Germany should be tougher on China on matters that seem to run counter to their value system. In the face of mounting pressures in the wake of Covid-19 and developments in Hong Kong, can Merkel stay the course of balancing economic interests with values?
Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group take part in a military parade during a condolences ceremony for the movement's former leader Ramadan Shalah in Gaza city, on 8 June 2020, two days after his death in neighbouring Lebanon. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Battling atheist China: US highlights Xinjiang issue and religious freedom in Indo-Pacific region

Ma Haiyun says that the US and China’s relations with the Muslim world have been a sticking point — for very different reasons. Yet as the US turns its focus to the Indo-Pacific region, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East may feel increasingly marginalised by geopolitical shifts and feel even more compelled to use their views on the Palestinian and Uighur issue as a vote of allegiance for the US or China. In Southeast Asia, the Muslim-majority countries face even more pressure as US-China competition intensifies in their own backyard. Whichever side they are on, all parties are gearing up for the next phase of US-China competition to be fought in the arena of global religious freedom.
A person holds a sign that reads "Keep America Great!" outside of the BOK Center ahead of a rally for US President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US, on 17 June 2020. (Christopher Creese/Bloomberg)

China's preferred choice: Trump or Biden?

Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong explains why for all of President Trump’s perceived flaws, China may not necessarily prefer a change to the US leadership.
Indian army soldiers ride in a convoy along a highway leading towards Leh, bordering China, in Gagangir on 17 June 2020. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP)

China-India border clash: Will India's misperceptions of China's strength lead to war?

For the first time in over four decades, a China-India skirmish in the disputed Himalayan border region at Galwan Valley has resulted in fatalities, and quite a number at that. Diplomatic efforts are going into overdrive, but a series of suspicions and misperceptions on both sides may see the China-India border conflict escalating even higher. China is already flexing its muscles with military exercises in Tibet. When push comes to shove, who will blink first?