Politics

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken 10 April 2020. (Dado Ruvic/REUTERS)

Chinese, American and European vaccines — will we have the luxury of choice?

As the world races to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, politics has made it a strategic contest. But while everybody wants to be the first to develop a vaccine that works and put it out on the market, experts say that vaccines cannot be forced, and it is possible that one may not be found at all. Even if found, the vaccine has to be made available to everyone to ensure that the pandemic ends across the globe. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu speaks to scientists and experts to find out more.​
A Mirimus Inc lab scientist holds Covid-19 samples from recovered patients on 10 April 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Misha Friedman/Getty Images/AFP)

Did Chinese spies steal US technology? US thinks so and is taking action

Convinced that China has been stealing information and know-how through people insurgents at all levels, the US is making haste to withdraw opportunities for Chinese to tap on US innovation in any way. Thus far, experts of Chinese descent who work in particularly sensitive fields in the US are facing the brunt of increased scrutiny. Does this signal the end of long-held American generosity and openness in sharing knowledge, at least as it applies to the Chinese?
A woman wearing a face mask walks at a square of a park in Yokohama, 10 May 2020. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Why has Japan not imposed a lockdown, like China and the rest of the world?

Japan has not implemented a lockdown or harsh measures, but it has generally managed to keep its coronavirus cases and death toll low. How has it managed to do this and what does it say about its political system? Professor Zhang Yun of Niigata University examines Japan’s pandemic-management style.
Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet. 
A man under a bridge of the Yangtze river in Wuhan, 15 April 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

When the only option is fraud: How institutional faults led to the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan

Chen Kang attributes the blindspots in China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak to the tendency of officials to withhold information and put up appearances for their own interests. As such, decision-making could be impaired by the asymmetry of information and misaligned interests between superiors and subordinates, especially at the local level. Results then vary based on how well one navigates the minefields of groupthink, collusion and that seemingly innocuous aim of not rocking the boat. Using the prism of formalism, or what is prizing form over substance, Chen points out the weakness of a centralised system.
The fearless girl statue and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) are pictured on 20 April 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. (Johannes Eisele/AFP)

Will the pandemic undermine the long-term leadership capability of the US?

With the coronavirus rampaging through the West, especially the US, some people think that this might signal the start of a decline in the leadership status of the US, with China ready to step up in its place. Chinese professor Yu Zhi does not agree.
Flower installations to mark the Labour Day holiday are seen on Tiananmen Square in front of the Great Hall of the People, Beijing 1 May 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Friends to foes: Matthew Pottinger's Mandarin speech to China and US-China relations

US Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger’s speech on the anniversary of the May Fourth Movement touched on China’s political system, the spirit of the May Fourth Movement, and hopes for the Chinese people. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong sheds light on Pottinger, a hawkish China hand, and looks at how China-US relations have deteriorated since China's reform and opening up.
A local villager drive a boat where the future site of the Luang Prabang dam will be on the Mekong River, outskirt of Luang Prabang province, Laos, February 5, 2020. (Panu Wongcha-um/REUTERS)

China-led Mekong project terminated as Thais protest: Participatory diplomacy in action?

Thailand has terminated a China-led project on the Mekong River, following resistance by locals and conservationists. ISEAS visiting fellow Supalak Ganjanakhundee explains how this will affect the future of the Mekong River.
People walk past a tree with a mask and eyes stapled on it, in Melbourne, on 20 April 2020. (William West/AFP)

Chewing gum on the sole of China's shoes? Australia-China relations take a nosedive

China's Global Times editor Hu Xijin called Australia the “chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes”. The Chinese public seems to agree and wants to “find a stone to rub it off”. This is but a sampling of Chinese reactions to recent statements by Australian leaders. That Australia's calls for China to be part of a Covid-19 independent international inquiry strike a strident tone is not unexpected, given that negative attitudes towards China have been simmering in Australia for quite a while now.