Politics

A man holds a US flag in front of Trump Tower on 8 March 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

Why the US is an unreliable partner to Southeast Asia

Canadian academic Shaun Narine says that as long as the Republican Party remains a viable political party capable of gaining power, the US will be politically unstable, and as a result, be an unreliable ally in the future.
(left to right) China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. (Photos: Pool, AFP, Reuters)

US-China talks in Alaska — how far can they go?

Top officials in the Biden administration and the Chinese government are meeting in Alaska this week for what has been touted as the first high-level contact between the two countries under the new US administration and one to watch. Can this meeting turn the page on testy US-China relations? Yu Zeyuan gives a preview.
Two paramilitary police officers patrol in the area south of the Great Hall of the People during the second plenary session of the National People's Congress in Beijing on 8 March 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

‘Time and situation’ in China’s favour, but is China invincible?

Amid a strong sense that the East is on the rise while the West is in decline, China’s annual Two Sessions came to a close on a confident note, says Han Yong Hong. This augurs well for China’s plan to reach its goal of having a per capita GDP of a moderately developed country by 2035. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and unforeseen variables can still develop at every turn.
In this file photo taken on 31 January 2018, Taiwanese sailors salute the island's flag on the deck of the Panshih supply ship after taking part in annual drills, at the Tsoying naval base in Kaohsiung. (Mandy Cheng/AFP)

Will China take Taiwan by force within six years? Taiwanese think not and experts are worried

At a recent US senate hearing, Admiral Philip Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, assessed US capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, adding that Beijing may invade Taiwan in the next six years. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong speaks to Taiwan academics about the issue.
A man holds the US and China flags in a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

'Cold peace' in China-US relations: Who will get the last laugh?

US-based researcher Wei Da notes that China-US relations are at risk of stagnating and reaching a state of "cold peace" with the current development. While China has been making friendly overtures to the US, it is also signalling that the ball is in the US’s court. Would any side give space to the other? Who will benefit from such a situation?
Pedestrians and cyclists stand in front of a screen showing an advertisement for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing, China, on 5 March 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China-US strategic showdown: Will the east wind prevail over the west wind?

The 21st century sees the convergence of the Chinese socialist system and its American capitalist counterpart across the global arena, and that convergence is a critical turning point in history, says Zhu Ying. With China exhibiting real muscle on the international stage, the US must prove that the democratic system will prevail. To do this, it must not only get its house in order, but offer credible solutions to the world.
People wait at a traffic light on a street in Phnom Penh on 11 January 2021. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Confucius Institutes accepted in SEA and embraced by Cambodia, unlike in the West

China’s Confucius Institutes have been vilified in the West, but they have gained much traction in Cambodia. This is not surprising, given that Cambodia is one of China's closest allies in Southeast Asia. ISEAS visiting fellow Vannarith Chheang explains why.
A view of the Mekong river bordering Thailand and Laos is seen from the Thai side in Nong Khai, Thailand, 29 October 2019. (Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

Role of Vietnam in Mekong: A middle power in another US-China geopolitical battleground

Hanoi is applying its South China Sea playbook to the Mekong. It is putting effort into enmeshing all stakeholders while carefully balancing relationships with major powers interested in the Mekong. What does this mean for Southeast Asia and the region's relationship with China and the US? RSIS graduate research assistant Phan Xuan Dung examines how Vietnam can make a difference.
Protesters hold signs with an image of Aung San Suu Kyi as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on 22 February 2021. (Sai Aung Main/AFP)

A rising China needs to demonstrate moral courage on Myanmar issue

Thinking along the lines of moral realism, a concept espoused by Professor Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China can enhance its international esteem by establishing its moral and strategic credibility on the Myanmar issue, says Professor He Baogang.