Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections on 13 January 2024 will affect the situation across the Taiwan Strait and the direction of cross-strait relations, attracting attention at home and abroad. The picture shows a large-scale nighttime rally held by the Democratic Progressive Party in Changhua county on 2 December 2023. (Democratic Progressive Party)

Taiwan's presidential election a choice between peace and war?

As the Taiwan presidential election heats up in the final month, commentator Gu Erde takes a look at the election narratives surrounding the three parties in the contest, in particular garnering the youth votes, the Taiwan Strait issue and Taiwan’s relations with China and the US.
William Lai Ching-te, Taiwan's vice-president and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, interacts with supporters during an election campaign event in Taipei, Taiwan, on 7 December 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Is the US worried about William Lai winning the Taiwan presidential election?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun notes that while it seems that the US is worried about the DPP's William Lai winning the elections, a DPP win might aid the US's implementation of its Indo-Pacific policies. In that light, academics and officials offering advice on how Lai should act if he wins the election can be seen as helping to ensure that the direction of the current Tsai administration would be continued, as it best fits US interests.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden are reflected in the plexiglass in a photo taken on 22 October 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

‘Old’ and messy, but US-style democracy and elections still the way to go

With the next US presidential election coming up in 2024, academic Fei-Ling Wang says that democracy is not a natural state of affairs as opposed to authoritarian rule, which is in fact what humans gravitate towards. However, democracy seems to be the least “evil” among all the various governance systems.
A China Coast Guard (left) vessel blocks BRP Melchora Aquino (right) during the Philippine coast guard’s mission to deliver provisions at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea on 10 November 2023. (Jam Sta Rosa/AFP)

Civil society should not get involved in the South China Sea disputes

Chinese academic Peng Nian notes that the Philippines is playing a dangerous game by stoking civil society sentiments in the South China sea disputes. It could end up being a lose-lose situation for bilateral relations.
Philippine soldiers look at Philippine Coast Guard vessels near Thitu Island in the disputed South China Sea on 1 December 2023. (Jam Sta Rosa/AFP)

No China backlash, so far: The Philippines’ new 'assertive transparency' policy in the South China Sea

The Philippines’ "assertive transparency" in the South China Sea has so far not generated negative economic repercussions for the country. Does this demonstrate the limits of China’s grey zone coercion?
A Philippines coast guard personnel looks at the Chinese Coast Guard vessel as they come close during a mission to deliver provisions at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea on 10 November 2023. (Jam Sta Rosa/AFP)

It's not about fear: What drives the Philippines’ response in the South China Sea

Philippine academic Robert Joseph P. Medillo says that rather than looking at the Philippines’ reactions to China’s actions in the South China Sea from the prism of fear, one can understand it as standing up to a major power, through building a collective of like-minded states that can rally together to press for transparency and accountability from China.
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at New York State Supreme Court in New York, US, on 7 December 2023. (Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg)

Trump will be more dangerous than the Taiwan Strait in 2024?

Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong notes that there is a real possibility of Donald Trump getting elected for a second time as US President. If Trump takes office and the US alliance system loosens, China will gain some diplomatic respite. But having engaged with the Trump administration before, China is unlikely to have high expectations for Trump’s China policy.
US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger addresses members of the United Nations Security Council at the UN headquarters, on 24 September 1973 in New York. (AFP)

Decline of Kissinger-style diplomacy and the future of China-US relations

US researcher Wei Da says that while the Chinese fondly remember the late US diplomat and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as a friend of China, he was described as "outdated" by the Americans even in the early 1990s. Why was that so and how did Kissinger see China in the later years of his life? Wei Da explains how the Reagan doctrine came to triumph over Kissinger-style diplomacy in the US and why such rhetoric continues till this day.
Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei gestures during a session at the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 29 November 2023. (Juan Mabromata/AFP)

Will Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei side the 'free world' and avoid China?

Academic Antonio C. Hsiang notes that Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei will be facing several challenges once he assumes office. From carrying out transitional justice to managing economic ties with the Mercosur countries and China, Milei will have his work cut out for him.