Politics

A man looks at a globe in a park in Wuhan, 8 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

What is China's next move? It has two alternatives

Economics professor Yu Zhi points out that the ball is in China’s court as to whether it will continue being plugged in to the international economic system and whether globalisation itself will continue on its path. In the medium- to long-term, he sees that it is in China’s interest to stay the course and scenarios of decoupling between China and the West are much exaggerated. However, how China sees its strategic role in the world in the future is something its leaders and people have to give great thought to, not in the future, but right now.
This handout picture taken and released on 20 May 2020 by the Taiwan Presidential office shows Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (centre) and Vice President William Lai waving during an inauguration event for their respective terms in office, at the Taipei Guest House in Taipei. (Handout/Taiwan Presidential Office/AFP)

Chinese academic: Tsai's true intention was to redraw boundaries in cross-strait relations

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration speech yesterday delved into various areas concerning the future direction of Taiwan, but the most important aspect was the strong tone she set regarding the handling of cross-straits relations. Chuang Hui Liang and Edwin Ong analyse the nuances of her speech and gather reactions from Taiwan and mainland China.
Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after a meeting ahead of National People's Congress (NPC), China's annual session of parliament, in Beijing, 4 March 2019. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

China's military spending amid the pandemic: Will it go up or down this year?

China's economy has taken a hit from the pandemic, but in the face of external challenges from the US and concerns over cross-straits relations, military spending is expected to be one major topic at China’s upcoming "two sessions". Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan examines the evidence as to whether it will go up or down.
Workers put up a mural on a Northwell Healthcare building featuring healthcare workers who are on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic on 5 May 2020 in New Hyde Park, New York. (Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP)

America's tussle with WHO: Are UN specialised agencies 'toothless and useless'?

Zhang Yun reminds those bent on reforming UN specialised agencies such as the WHO of the genesis of such institutions. They were never meant to be supranational bodies overriding the authorities of sovereign states, but vehicles, hence “agencies”, that facilitate international cooperation. As politics is part and parcel of the running of any organisation, it can never be fully taken out of the equation. Rather, the question is how politics can be a positive means of achieving fruitful outcomes.
Professor Wang Gungwu speaks on China, the coronavirus, and the prospect of a divided world. (SPH)

Wang Gungwu: Even if the West has lost its way, China may not be heir apparent

In a wide-ranging email interview with ThinkChina editor Chow Yian Ping, sinologist Wang Gungwu shares his thoughts on how China and the world have changed because of the pandemic. He keenly observes that Chinese leaders have sought greater control over the population in recent years, and the situation will worsen as the pandemic deepens their insecurities. On the international stage, an intense clash of interests among the major powers looks set to keep nations divided. On the micro-level however, he takes heart that a “globalisation from below” is taking place; the fact that the virus knows no borders has brought people closer together, with opportunities for reset.
US and Chinese flags at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, 14 February 2019. (Mark Schiefelbein via REUTERS)

China to punish Western 'anti-China' forces and 'make them feel the pain', according to Chinese official media report

Following the filing of lawsuits in the US against China for the coronavirus outbreak, China is preparing to hit back with punitive measures. Australia, too, is facing a suspension of beef exports, while China’s Ministry of Commerce has announced tighter controls over exports of medical supplies. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan reports.
Motorists wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus travel along a busy traffic intersection in Hanoi on 13 May 2020. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

China should be worried about political developments in Vietnam, not economic rivalry

Vietnam is fast becoming the factory of the world and is well-placed to capitalise on changes to global supply chains. Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng feels that contrary to popular opinion, though Vietnam is striving to be the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, it is not going to be an economic threat to China any time soon. What China should look out for, is how the Vietnam government negotiates domestic political and social reforms, and whether the Communist Party of Vietnam is able to avoid the kind of tragedy that befell the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
People's Liberation Army soldiers march to their barracks opposite the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 24 February 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Chinese military starts 79-day exercises amid pandemic to deter Taiwan and warn the US

Chinese PLA forces will be undertaking rigorous training at Bohai Bay near Tianjin for two and a half months. It is probably not a coincidence that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration day — 20 May — is well within that period and the military’s activities will serve as a constant reminder that any overstepping of the boundaries can be met with sharp reprisals.
A sign pasted on a security barricade is seen after the India Gate war memorial was closed for visitors amid measures for coronavirus prevention in New Delhi, India, on 19 March 2020. (Adnan Abidi/File Photo/Reuters)

India-China relations: Compromises and conflicts amid Covid-19

India and China marked 70 years of diplomatic relations with an exchange of letters between the countries’ leaders on 1 April. Other commemorative events were to follow but have been postponed due to the coronavirus. Often mentioned in the same breath as two populous Asian powers on the rise, India and China have seen their fair share of ups and downs as competitors and partners. Apart from derailing the celebratory side of things, how will pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic affect India-China relations?