Politics

A street vendor walks past a billboard for a photo studio featuring an image of US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, 24 November 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

America's coming back — but ASEAN will cope, with or without her

Since President Donald Trump yanked the US out of the TPP as part of his “America First” doctrine in 2017, Southeast Asia has been more without Trump than with. In fact, America is increasingly seen as a declining power in Southeast Asia and countries in the region are adjusting to this reality. ISEAS academic William Choong explains what this means for the US, China and ASEAN.
A protester takes a moment while speaking to the crowd as they march through Hollywood during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody, in Los Angeles, California, June 2, 2020. - Anti-racism protests have put several US cities under curfew to suppress rioting, following the death of George Floyd in police custody. (Kyle Grillot/AFP)

Japanese academic: If US diplomacy lacks a strong base, how can it demonstrate true leadership?

Japanese academic Sahashi Ryo notes that with Biden taking office, the US needs to look at the changing needs of diplomacy and rebuild international relationships, and figure out how to negotiate its ties with China.
Passersby wearing protective face masks walk on the street at Yokohama's China town, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, 1 December 2020. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

Japanese academic: Who will set the new rules in the Asia-Pacific region?

How have China-Japan relations changed under the new Suga administration, and how will they continue to evolve? Japanese academic Tomoki Kamo takes a look at the language used and the diplomatic efforts of each country for clues about the power tussle between China and Japan.
A paramilitary police officer stands guard during a flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square on National Day to mark the 71st anniversary of the founding of People's Republic of China, in Beijing, China, 1 October 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Exemplary punishment: How China's using wolf-warrior tactics on Australia to warn the rest

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's recent tweet of an image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat has brought China-Australia relations to a new low. While the Australian prime minister has softened his stance and even made goodwill gestures to China, these were rejected by Chinese officials and its people. Edwin Ong traces the deterioration of China-Australia relations and notes that China may not rein in its abrasive wolf-warrior tactics anytime soon. However, he says such tactics may not benefit China in the end.
This picture taken and released on 21 November 2020 by the Vietnam News Agency shows Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) bumping elbows to greet US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien during a meeting in Hanoi. (Vietnam News Agency/AFP)

Robust US-Vietnam relations to continue under Biden presidency

Many Vietnamese feel that their country has benefited much from US President Donald Trump’s policies, such as his tough stance on China and the US-China trade war. However, that does not mean that US-Vietnam relations will lose its momentum under a Biden presidency as the two countries strategic goals are aligned, says ISEAS academic Le Hong Hiep.
People walk in the tourist area surrounding Houhai Lake during Chinese National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 2 October 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

What can Singapore learn from China?

Two Singaporean businessmen reflect on their years spent working in China, and consider the Chinese approaches and attitudes that Singapore can do well to learn from. With the right bold strategic moves, more targeted incentives to specific sectors and also to civil servants, as well as an openness to adapt some of the lessons from countries like China, Singapore can remain globally relevant in these very uncertain times.
US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet announcement event in Wilmington, Delaware, on 24 November 2020. (Chandan Khanna/AFP)

Can Biden’s US lead the world?

US President-elect Joe Biden has said that the US is back and ready to lead the world. Can he really turn things around? The US-China relationship, for one, is already in a serious state of distrust and acrimony. While the methods differ, says Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao, the intended outcomes of the Biden administration’s China policy would likely be very similar to the previous administration’s. But before playing a global leading role of any kind, Biden will have to find a way to prevent his every step from being hindered by conservative Republicans in Congress.
A US flag being hoisted on cranes outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware on 3 November 2020. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP)

America and Europe are coming together against China, but will it work?

Even under the incoming Biden administration, it is likely that the US will continue seeking to work with allies such as the EU against China. However, says Zhu Ying, having a common agenda, and even a certain amount of willingness, is very different from being able to achieve the goal of joining hands against China.
China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi attend their joint news conference after their meeting in Tokyo on 24 November 2020. (Issei Kato/AFP)

China's 'new era' for China-Japan relations does not match Japan's needs

With the recent visit to Japan by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, how are China-Japan relations likely to develop? Are concerns that Japan will be "passed over" by the US valid? Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the signs.