Politics

Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping (back) outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

What has changed in China’s South China Sea policy under Xi Jinping?

Li Nan sees that China has been using more aggressive “defensive” strategies in the South China Sea (SCS) under Xi Jinping, which includes the building of several artificial islands and the consolidation of administrative control of Chinese possessions and claims in the SCS. While policy insiders in China often see these actions as defensive, those who have a stake in the SCS have cause to disagree.
A figurine depicting U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden is pictured at a shop on Via San Gregorio Armeno, the famous street in Naples dedicated to producing nativity figurines, where shops are currently closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Naples, Italy, 19 November 2020. (Ciro De Luca/REUTERS)

US vs China: Who is more resilient?

Even as some dismiss the US and say it is set on a downward trajectory, commentator Deng Qingbo says its powers of recovery are too strong for it to be ruled out. As a superpower, it has the means to make adjustments and move forward. China has much of that resilience too, given that is the only country in the world with an unbroken civilisation of 5,000 years. Deng examines the strengths and weaknesses of both nations in terms of their abilities to recover from setbacks, and their nimbleness in correcting mistakes.
Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong says that at this crucial juncture, there is a greater need for a close alignment of development strategies between China and Singapore, and to work together for the future. (Graphic: Jace Yip)

Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong: New journey for China’s development; new opportunities for China-Singapore cooperation

China's next phase of development will focus on achieving high-quality development and building a modern socialist country, says China's ambassador to Singapore, Hong Xiaoyong. Much attention will be paid to fostering innovation and green growth, and in pursuing a coordinated approach in building prosperity for the Chinese people. China will also continue to engage the world through its dual circulation strategy, turning the China market into a market accessible to all. In these efforts, there are many opportunities for Singapore and China to work together, building on their years of cooperation and synergies. Ambassador Hong wrote this article in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore.
In this file photo taken on 7 November 2020, a woman waves a Joe Biden flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC, after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: The world will not split into two, but neither can it return to the past

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait interviewed Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of the Bloomberg 2020 New Economy Forum on 17 November. Among the topics they discussed, PM Lee spoke at length about China, the US, global trade, the internet, and most of all, the China-US relationship. This is an excerpt of the interview transcript.
US President-elect Joe Biden gestures to the crowd after he delivered remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on 7 November 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

Has Biden bared his fangs at China?

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga may have stolen a march on China by making an early move to secure President-elect Joe Biden’s support for any attack on the Senkaku islands or what the Chinese call Diaoyu islands. Even before he enters the White House, Biden seems comfortable reassuring Japan of America’s intention to uphold their commitments under the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. Will this make China more defensive on the one hand, and more eager to court Biden on the other?
A man waves a US flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on 7 November 2020, after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Eric Baradat/AFP)

Liberalism and globalisation serves the elites; the world needs a return to the nation state

EAI academic Lance Gore finds that the trend of deglobalisation and internal unrest seen in developed countries in recent years can be attributed to the disintegration of the Western liberal social contract, as well as the struggle between various forces that seek to restore or reforge that contract. He says liberalism is only effective for the elites, while globalisation is a grand banquet for capital; the masses at large, unfortunately, fail to benefit. He sees a return to the nation-state as the precondition for repairing the social compact, and Asian countries will have an edge over the West in achieving this. 
President-elect Joe Biden waves to supporters as he leaves the Queen theater after receiving a briefing from the transition COVID-19 advisory board on 9 November 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

The US is getting old but China is still too green

Zhou Nongjian observes that there was a large slate of older candidates in this year’s US elections including incumbent President Trump who is 74 and President-elect Joe Biden who is 78. It is not an exact science of course, but he notes that this large crop of “oldies” is a metaphor for a greying America, or put bluntly, a country that is fast deteriorating and way past its prime. Notwithstanding, will China be fooled by such a veneer of weakness or stay watchful and humble?
A girl sits next to the paintings of US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on display alongside a road in Mumbai, India, 8 November 2020. (Niharika Kulkarni/Reuters)

India gets ready for shifts in US-China relations under Biden 

Much in the manner that a poor and a turbulent China became a critical element in the US-Soviet competition during the 1970s, even a weak India could have some bearing on the evolution of the Asian balance of power, vis-à-vis US-China relations, says Prof C. Raja Mohan. In recent years under the Trump administration, Delhi ended its historic hesitations about deeper military and security cooperation with the US by embracing the Indo-Pacific strategy and helping to revive the Quad. What will be the future direction of India-US relations under the new Biden presidency? What would that mean for China?
This photo taken on 24 September 2020 shows workers setting up national flags along a street ahead of the upcoming National Day in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. (STR/AFP)

China's next Five-Year Plan focuses on security, stability and quality of development; adopts a more subdued tone

Amid the pandemic, US elections and intensifying geopolitical tensions around the globe, China’s recently-released communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drew much attention. What does this 14th Five-Year Plan say about China’s development trajectory and its focus for the next five years? How has it changed given the new global situation? EAI academic Qi Dongtao dissects the document.