Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US President Donald Trump shake hands after signing the US-China phase one trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, 15 January 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

US-China trade talks resume on a wary note

​After days of delay, the US and China reviewed their phase one trade agreement in a telephone call on 25 August. Both sides sidestepped the question of recent US actions against Chinese companies, but there is no guarantee that this uneasy truce will hold up as the 2020 US presidential race intensifies.
Soldiers from China's People's Liberation Army carry a state flag at Red Square prior to a military parade, which marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Moscow on 24 June 2020. (Pavel Golovkin/POOL/AFP)

Is China the old Soviet Union?

The US seems to think that China is the old Soviet Union, and worse, that it has been disingenuous and is only showing its true colours now. Given testy relations, China is waiting it out until the US presidential election in November. But even if there is a new president from the Democratic Party in the White House, will China’s woes recede?
Infantrymen assigned to a combined arms brigade under the PLA 78th Group Army get well-prepared in positions during a tactical training exercise in early August, 2020. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Feng Cheng)

The PLA’s game of deterrence in the Taiwan Strait

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes the seeming aggressiveness of the PLA’s large-scale military exercises in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, but says that the intention is in fact to prevent combat rather than to initiate it.
This aerial photo shows stars on the red beach caused by the red plant of Suaeda salsa forming a national flag in Panjin, in China's northeastern Liaoning province on 7 August 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China attempting to change the world order?

Even as China says that it is not trying to change the world order, its actions can be interpreted as suggesting otherwise. Chinese economics professor Zhu Ying traces how China has been influencing the world order, if not changing it.
20 August 2020: Yang (left) visited the Deng Xiaoping Marker at ACM Green, which commemorates Deng’s landmark visit to Singapore in 1978 and his contributions to the friendship between Singapore and China. (SPH)

Yang Jiechi’s Singapore visit: Seeking strategic space

China appears to be making a concerted effort to reach out to friendlier countries in an effort to draw them closer. Yang Jiechi, who is a Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, is visiting Singapore and South Korea this week. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook thinks that both China and Singapore are seeking to broaden their strategic space amid a more unpredictable and precarious world.
US President Donald Trump arrives to address a briefing on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the White House in Washington, 13 August 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

To manage Trump the 'destroyer', China needs 'guerrilla’ tactics

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that as the Trump administration continues to target China without a clear shape to its strategic competition strategy, Beijing cannot afford to think that it can brazenly respond in kind. Employing stealthy guerrilla warfare tactics may be more appropriate.
People wearing protective masks ride past Lama Temple in Beijing, China, 19 June 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

What is China's biggest challenge?

In the great China-US contest, overcoming weaknesses, more than capitalising on strengths, will be the deciding factor in determining who emerges the victor, says Wei Da. Any country is only as good as its weakest link, and the sooner the both of them realise that and look their shortcomings in the eye, the better. Wei Da identifies China's biggest challenge and its weaknesses in this article.
An aircraft prepares to launch off the flight deck of carrier USS Ronald Reagan while conducting operations in the South China Sea, 14 August 2020. (US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton/US navy website)

Mutually assured disruption: US-China brinkmanship in the Taiwan Strait

​Even as the US and China are ramping up their military presence in the Taiwan Strait, academics say that this is to prevent military conflict and ease tensions in the area. Nonetheless, attempts at inducing the opponent to beat a retreat will still ratchet up tensions in the region. Yang Danxu analyses this case of creeping escalation.
This photo taken on 25 July 2020 shows a girl riding a bike next to Buddhist pagodas in Monywa in the Sagaing region in Myanmar. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP)

Balancing Chinese influence in Myanmar? India must avoid head-to-head competition

For India to be a significant player in Myanmar, it needs to do more, whether on its own or by working with others. Muhammad Saad Siddiqui suggests that an obvious partner is actually China. Difficult bilateral ties aside, there is much room for cooperation.