[view:title]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend the first working session of the G20 Summit in Osaka, 28 June 2019. (G20 OSAKA)

Strong China-Japan relations a fantasy in a divisive world: Will ASEAN benefit?

Since the coronavirus pandamic hit, Japan has been trying to reduce an overdependence on China vis-à-vis its supply chains. But this is by no means a sign that it wants to decouple from the Chinese economy. Several Japanese firms in fact have the intention to expand their operations in China. However, the geopolitical situation and other factors have meant a sharp deterioration in bilateral relations including the stalling of a planned state visit by President Xi Jinping. International politics professor David Arase opines that even with the best of intentions and efforts, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe would find it difficult to maintain meaningful relations with China in a divisive world. Closer Japan-ASEAN ties may be one of the upsides out of the chaos.
Supporters hold copies of the Apple Daily newspaper as Hong Kong pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai is released on bail from the Mong Kok police station in Hong Kong on 12 August 2020, after his arrest under the new national security law. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP)

Governing Hong Kong: Beijing needs to tread carefully with the national security law

What does Moisés Naím’s 2013 book tell us about power in the modern world and how is this related to the recent high-profile arrests of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and former member of the Standing Committee of Demosistō Agnes Chow under the Hong Kong national security law? Can China's style of showing power maintain peace in society? How long would its deterrence work in Hong Kong society?
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask following the Covid-19 outbreak, stands guard outside the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China must endure the storm, for time is on its side 

Senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute Lance Gore says that China must learn to rein in its rage and impatience and do its fair share of self-reflection. What good would it do if it gives in to petty emotions and provokes a US-led coalition against it? For sure, it still has room for manoeuvre, thanks to the attractiveness of its huge consumer market. But it must not miss the woods for the trees: the US is still more powerful than it is and the two are better off as friends than enemies. Question is, will China be able to be humble, look itself squarely in the mirror, and refrain from doing the things it must not?
Chinese servicemen walk past portraits of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and patrol a street near the Great Hall of the People on the opening day of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

From a Marxist perspective, the China-US Cold War is inevitable

Zhu Ying states that it is impossible to understand the new Cold War between China and the US without understanding the clash of ideologies that marked the first Cold War and which clouds the current state of relations between China and the US. If we are lucky, like the first Cold War, the new Cold War will not tip over into a hot war. However, accidental mishaps wrought by zealous ideologues cannot be ruled out.
People make their way along a street in the old quarters of New Delhi on 7 August 2020. (Jewel Samad/AFP)

China in the Gulf: India overmatched but undaunted

Based on history, culture ties and the flow of people throughout the Indian subcontinent, Persia and Arabian Peninsula, India has had a natural advantage over China in engaging the Gulf. But in recent years, this seems to be no more. A reported partnership between China and Iran worth some US$400 billion over 25 years is just the latest in a string of footholds China is carving out in the region. India is realistic enough to know it is unwise to embark on a geopolitical competition with Beijing in the Gulf. Rather, it will play to its own strengths, says Professor C. Raja Mohan, director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS.
The Statue of Liberty is seen over a wind blown American flag scarf on Liberty Island on 20 July 2020 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP)

A 'failed state'? China must not misjudge the US

Some Americans have begun to regard the US under the Trump administration as a “failed state”. While many Chinese worry about Trump’s irrationality and unpredictability in playing the "China card", others are slighting the US, believing that now is the opportunity for China to displace the US on the global stage. But is the US a failed state? Political scientist Zheng Yongnian cautions that it may not be so, and China must not only read the US rationally and realistically, it also has to learn to coexist with the US under harsher conditions.
The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken 7 August 2020. (Florence Lo/REUTERS)

Banning TikTok and WeChat: Is the US afraid of competition?

Despite little or no evidence that China apps TikTok and WeChat are a threat to US national security, Trump has signed executive orders effectively banning them from the US by 20 September. US-based academic Zhu Zhiqun reviews the possible reasons for Trump's decision, and discusses if other countries would follow suit.
China and US flags are seen near a TikTok logo in this illustration picture taken on 16 July 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Banning TikTok: A 'China Crusade' has begun?

Following TikTok’s shutting down in the Indian market, and the US’s announcement of its ban, countries such as Japan and New Zealand have also begun to consider imposing sanctions on TikTok. Does the crux of the problem lie in the company’s practices over user privacy and information security, or in the geopolitical struggle among the major powers? In the future, will other Chinese technology companies face the same fate as TikTok when they expand overseas?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping toast during a visit to the Far East Street exhibition on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, 11 September 2018. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency via REUTERS)

Why China and Russia should join forces now

Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao notes the growing pressure of possible war exerted by the US on China, and suggests that Article 9 of the 2001 Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship urging “contacts and consultations” might be a useful way to prevent war.