Politics

Chinese and US flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, 18 January 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

'Relying on the US for security and China for economic benefits is absurd'

From China’s perspective, Australia has been trying to have its cake and eat it too by seeking to rely on the US for security and China for economic benefits. If recent frictions are anything to go by, this balancing act is fraught with contradictions. Will Australia and other countries start to see that the Asia-Pacific’s interests are best served by both China and the US having a stake in the security and economic well-being of the region?
A tree on a pickup truck before the Lights of Lugoff Christmas Parade on 12 December 2020 in Lugoff, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/AFP)

Even as US-China competition intensifies, the world can look forward to a few good things

Post Covid-19, while it seems that a world economy with two centres of dynamism — one America, the other China — is setting in, and “decoupling” and “deglobalisation” are becoming catchwords of the new era, academic Zha Daojiong notes that there are a few bright spots amid the gloom. Moreover, the new normal in China-US relations may be more stable and less worrying for Southeast Asia than commonly thought.
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill on 17 November in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

US Navy's 1st Fleet to sail the 'Western Pacific and the Eastern Indian Ocean'?

The US has raised the possibility of reactivating its 1st Fleet in the Indo Pacific area. ISEAS academic Ian Storey notes that a reactivated 1st Fleet would boost the US naval presence in Asia, and demands on America’s allies and security partners in this region. What are the points of consideration for Asian countries and what is the likelihood that the reactivation will happen?
In this file photo taken on 28 November 2008, US Army soliders from 1-506 Infantry Division set out on a patrol in Paktika province, situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. (David Furst/AFP)

Biden may need China’s help in Afghanistan

One solution that ended the Vietnam war may provide some lessons for bringing the Afghan war to an end during Biden’s presidency. Forty years ago, the Nixon administration played the China card, enabling Washington to leave the Vietnam war. In the present, a replica of a Vietnam-inspired exodus — one moderated by China and its ally Pakistan — is worth pursuing. China has built relations with all of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries and has the capacity to build a regional infrastructure and economic network. US academic Ma Haiyun explores the possibilities.
Protesters rally outside the Georgia State Capitol against the results of the 2020 Presidential election on 21 November 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/AFP)

The US remains leader and pioneer of civilised societies despite unsettled election

US-based researcher Wei Da notes that many in China believe the US will soon be in chaos following an unsettled 2020 US presidential election. He says that while the election has indeed highlighted the widening chasm in the US between conservatism and liberalism, and brought forth calls for change in the electoral system, the US remains a leader and pioneer in seeking out new and innovative ways to advance civilised societies.
A supporter of President Donald Trump yells at counter-protesters across the street during a rally to protest against the election results outside the Georgia State Capitol on 14 November 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images/AFP)

Internal conflicts will be the downfall of the US

US academic Han Dongping notes that the US is no longer in the leading position it used to hold, and it is finding it difficult to handle the challenges from other countries, especially China, not least because of its own domestic contradictions that are getting harder and harder to reconcile. It can no longer rely on old ways of maintaining order domestically and internationally. It has to come up with new strategies — fast.
A supporter of US President-elect Joe Biden waves a flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on 7 November 2020. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

Can the US take a backseat in Asia and maintain peaceful coexistence with China?

Zheng Weibin assesses that the future of the US’s leading role in Asia depends on whether it can see itself retreating from the region and letting their allies in Asian exert influence by proxy. If that is the case, Taiwan may no longer be such a key set piece. Moreover, if both the US and China recalibrate their thinking about each other, they might reach a consensus on coexistence.
Military personnel walk past a banner promoting the ASEAN summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, 11 November 2020. (Kham/Reuters)

Former Chinese Vice-Minister He Yafei: Singapore and ASEAN have important roles to play in a multipolar world

Professor He Yafei, a former vice-minister at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered the keynote address at the Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China Forum on 3 December. He touched on the imperatives of a new multipolar world, highlighting that being economically close to China, but relying on the US for security protection, is not going to work for the Southeast Asian region. He also spoke about Singapore and China working together bilaterally, for instance in terms of China’s new dual circulation economy, as well in the regional and international arena. Below is the edited transcript of his speech and QnA.
Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee. (SPH)

Ambassador Chan Heng Chee: The future of Singapore-China strategic collaboration

Professor Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large and Singapore’s former ambassador to the US, addressed the Lianhe Zaobao Singapore-China Forum on 4 December via Zoom. She said that there is still much that Singapore and China can work together on, such as in tightening the nuts and bolts of the recently signed RCEP, enhancing the ASEAN-China FTA, exchanging views on the CPTPP and WTO reform, and facilitating cooperation in the digital sector.