A person uses a phone in front of an installation featuring the logo of the third Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing, China, on 16 October 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

What Italy’s likely exit from the BRI says about its relations with China

While Italy’s imminent withdrawal from the BRI is a symbolic setback, the country still plans to engage China and reap the economic benefits. Would this be easier said than done with the departure from the MOU ruffling the Chinese and the need to keep within the lines drawn by the EU? Italian academic Alessandro Albana examines the issue.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo passes ASEAN's hammer to Laotian Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, during the closing ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7 September 2023. (Willy Kurniawan/Reuters)

Is Laos able to make a difference in the Myanmar crisis?

ISEAS academic Joanne Lin looks at the crisis in Myanmar and recommends possible strategies for Laos to move the needle on the issue, ahead of its ASEAN chairmanship next year. Namely, Laos can make use of its strong relations with China and Russia to encourage them to work and coordinate closely with ASEAN.
Special forces personnel take part in the  Double Ten Day celebration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, on 10 October 2023. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Gaza, Ukraine crises have implications for Taiwan

The emerging war fatigue and the twin crises in Ukraine and Gaza have analysts weighing up the implications for Taiwan. Ultimately, the US can afford Ukraine’s failure or even let the conflict in the Middle East continue, but it will do everything possible to keep Taiwan separate from China, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun.
(front row, left to right) Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with other leaders wave during a group photo at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2023. (Suo Takekuma/AFP)

Belt and Road Forum: A show of China’s influence

The scale and attendance by world leaders to the two-day third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing is a show of China’s influence in the global diplomatic stage, says Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan. Despite the West’s view that the Belt and Road Initiative is a strategic tool for China to expand its international influence, numerous developing countries are still willing to participate in it given the significant progress overall.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, on 18 October 2023. (Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via Reuters)

Russia’s reliance on China is growing, but will China benefit?

The outside world predicts that China and Russia are set to demonstrate a “no limits” relationship and join hands to counteract the US and its Western alliance. However, China seems to be gaining dominance in China-Russia relations as Moscow is trying to strengthen its already deep economic, military and energy cooperation with Beijing. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk and journalist Miao Zong-Han tell us more.
Visitors pass through the Maritime Silk Route Vessels gallery featuring models of boats which have travelled through the route in the past. These include the Chinese Junk (left), Javanese Jong (background right), and Borobudur (right). (SPH Media)

Southeast Asia in the forgotten history of the Maritime Silk Road?

Southeast Asian countries need to do more to ensure that their historical contributions in developing China-Europe trade through the Maritime Silk Road are not lost amid contemporary narratives giving prominence to China’s centrality. This is not just a matter of historical accuracy but of sovereignty and identity, say RSIS academics Kwa Chong Guan and Han Fook Kwang.
A Palestinian youth reacts as he sits on the rubble of a destroyed home following an Israeli military strike on the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip on 15 October 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

China shifts stance on Israel-Hamas conflict?

A week after the war between Israel and Hamas broke out, China has openly criticised Israel, saying that its actions “have gone beyond self-defence”. China may be worried about the larger implications of war breaking out in the Middle East, says an academic that Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong spoke to.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) talks to Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (right) prior to a photo session during the 20th ASEAN-India Summit as part of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta on 7 September 2023. (Adek Berry/Pool via Reuters)

India’s expanding global influence has limited reach in ASEAN

India is seizing strategic opportunities to emerge as a new global power, but its influence in Southeast Asia is not keenly felt yet. Recent diplomatic accolades that India has achieved with ASEAN, appear to hold more significance in form than in substance. India’s lagging influence in Southeast Asia is also closely associated with its limited economic engagement and protectionist policies towards the region.
Smoke billows following Israeli strikes amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Gaza, on 13 October 2023. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

Chinese academic: No country can mediate the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

In the absence of a solution to the Palestinian issue, the Palestine-Israel peace process will be at a stalemate, unless Israel is able to completely destroy Hamas and other Palestinian anti-Israel forces. In the short term, Israel’s stance on Palestine, especially the Gaza Strip, is likely to harden, says Chinese academic Fan Hongda.