Politics

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi shake hands at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, Myanmar January 17, 2020. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Xi’s visit to Myanmar and implications for Southeast Asia

Given the US-China competition, China is working to grow its influence in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia. ISEAS senior fellow Lye Liang Fook looks at the recent visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping to Myanmar, and China's other efforts in Southeast Asia.
Are cross-strait relations proving to be too huge a gap to bridge? (Ann Wang/Reuters)

The Taiwan Strait: Hit the brakes now before it is too late

Not even the shared threat of Wuhan coronavirus can bring Taiwan and mainland China closer together. Zhu Zhiqun says recent developments do not bode well for cross-strait relations in the years ahead.
In America, the spat was just an economic and trade issue; it is a very different picture for China. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Why would China agree to such a “one-sided” deal?

US-based expert Wei Da says the recently concluded phase one trade agreement shows that China may have ended up being called to heel by the US. Faced with a list of demands that it needs to fulfil, China should be reminded that its giant market is not everything. It will need to make fundamental improvements before it dares to believe that it is soon catching up to the US.
China is having difficulties in translating its growing hard power into soft power. (David Gray/Reuters)

China has a major soft power problem in Asia

Based on findings from not one, but three recent opinion polls, ISEAS senior fellow Malcolm Cook finds that there is a serious level of distrust of China in Asia.
US President Donald Trump applauds as Liu He, China's vice premier, speaks during a signing ceremony for the US-China phase-one trade agreement in Washington on 15 January 2020. (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

Phase one trade deal a humiliation to China?

Yu Zeyuan says it would be quite wrong to think that China stands on the losing end of the recently concluded phase one Economic and Trade Agreement between the US and China. The picture may be quite the opposite.
Supporters of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen outside the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters in Taipei, January 2020. Young people played a big role in Tsai's win, and will continue to exert an influence in the future. (Tyrone Siu/REUTERS)

He who wins over the young people wins the world

Just about a week after the Taiwan presidential election, the rhetoric from both sides of the Taiwan Strait is aggressive. Will China take military action to take back Taiwan, or go with a safer approach? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the reasons for Tsai Ing-wen’s big win and concludes that young people will play a major role in the future.
US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signs phase one of the US-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington on 15 January 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

China held its own in phase one trade deal?

Chinese observer Zhang Jingwei says China held its own in sealing phase one of the US-China trade deal. But this is just a prelude to the second act as the US heads further into its election year.
An anti-government demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask takes part in a protest at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong on 12 January 2020. (Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters)

Realism and common sense necessary in Hong Kong and mainland China

Hong Kong political commentator Leung Man-tao looks back in Chinese modern history and recent happenings to conclude that Chinese people often disregard realism and common sense when faced with nationwide campaigns. He bids the authorities in Hong Kong to refrain from letting re-election hopes cloud their larger mission of taking Hong Kong to greater heights. He also pleads with Hong Kongers to listen to reason, and not let political waves from one side or the other ruin all that is good about Hong Kong.
The typical person is irrational, rapacious and does not abide by the law. While he keeps the interior of his apartment magnificent, he goes outside and leaves a shambolic mess without a sense of public order. (iStock)

The "hooligan middle class" will drag down China’s economic development

Prof Zheng Yongnian bemoans the “culturally-bereft” middle class in China, and labels them the “hooligan middle class”. He opines that the absence of a cultural middle class is the reason why China lacks originality in technology and innovation, why the intellectual community produces little useful knowledge, and why China has not been able to advance towards qualitative economic growth. He offers the solution.