[view:title]

The skyline of Singapore's central business district, 27 May 2016. (Edgar Su/REUTERS)

Can small states continue to avoid choosing between China and the US?

With the jostling between China and the US, one country that seems to have found a balance between these two powers is Singapore. In fact, other ASEAN countries are also seeking not to take sides, which appears to be the most prudent strategy. However, ISEAS academic William Choong thinks that the choice of not making a choice may not be feasible in the near future.
A South Korean soldier stands at a checkpoint on the Tongil bridge, the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex, in the border city of Paju on 24 June 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

When giants fight, even the wisest Southeast Asian leaders are left helpless

Hawaii-based academic Denny Roy notes the growing tension between North and South Korea, as well as US relations with China and the rest of the world, and explores how these might affect the situation in Southeast Asia.
Da Nang beach, Vietnam, where the American MASH unit operated during the Vietnam War. (iStock)

Should Vietnam file a case against China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea?

Vietnam’s recent decision to cancel deals for oil and gas activities in waters around Vanguard Bank has caused significant financial and reputational damage. ISEAS academic Le Hong Hiep says while there are several reasons for Vietnam cancelling the deals, Chinese pressure is high on the list and Hanoi needs to rethink its strategy to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Iranian-Americans protest China's bypassing of US sanctions in doing business with Iran, as well as what they believe as the handing over of Kish island in the Persian Gulf to China in exchange for military, regional and international support, in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, California on 10 July 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Deepening China-Iran relations could change global geopolitics

Following The New York Times’ report that China and Iran are about to conclude a mega investment-for-oil deal, speculations have gone into overdrive about the US sending Iran into the arms of China with its recent hostile policies towards both countries. Ma Haiyun looks at the implications of ever-closer relations between China and Iran and argues that if strategic partnerships weave a web of interconnectivity between countries that are both on the Indo-Pacific rim and Eurasian continent, global geopolitics would be fundamentally changed.
Chinese and US flags flutter before a trade meeting in Shanghai, China, 30 July 2019. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese academic: 'China will walk its chosen path and let Western countries talk!'

In the current political climate, the possibility of a phase two trade deal between China and the US is practically a non-starter. So be it, says Zhu Ying. China has shown that it wants to walk its own path, and will probably do so even more resolutely as it bristles at criticism of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter launches during flight operations aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, 17 July 2020. (US Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

Could China-US tensions in the South China Sea escalate into a hot war?

There is no doubt that tensions have risen in the South China Sea between China and the US. With deteriorating relations between the two countries and stakes high, especially for the US in an election year, how likely is it that there will be armed conflict in the South China Sea?
A man crosses the street at Times Square amid the Covid-19 pandemic on 30 April 2020 in New York City. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Why did the US fail to contain Covid-19?

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, commentators posited that democracies saw lower mortality rates during epidemics than non-democracies. Months later, escalating death rates in countries such as the US have called such a thesis into question. Political scientist Zheng Yongnian says it is not so much whether you are a democratic country or not, but what kind of system and values you espouse. The US and Germany, for instance, both democracies, have fared very differently. He takes a closer look at the issues.
People gather near the US Consulate General in Chengdu, 27 July 2020, as the final group of U.S. personnel from the consulate is expected to leave after China ordered its closure in response to a US order for China to shut its consulate in Houston. (Thomas Peter/REUTERS)

‘Melon-munching crowd’ in China enjoying the show amid US consulate closure

The recent diplomatic row between China and the US sparked off by the US ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston has ended for now, with the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that the spectator “melon-munching crowd” has responded with nationalist sentiments, and the media in China is fanning the flames. Can China-US relations be salvaged?
An F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the Dambusters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195, approaches the flight deck of the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during a drill in the South China Sea, 6 July 2020. (MC2 Samantha Jetzer/Handout/US Navy)

Should China station fighter jets in the South China Sea?

With China-US relations on a downward spiral and the US gearing up for battle in the South China Sea, China’s military academics say that China should stand ready to defend attacks on its reefs in the South China Sea.