Politics

Flags of the United States and China are placed for a meeting between the U.S. secretary of agriculture and China's minister of agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The biggest challenge in China's diplomacy

US-China strategic competition has had an adverse effect on Indo-Pacific tensions, from issues such as Taiwan, the South China Sea, to China-India border conflicts and China-Australia relations. Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun says China’s international and regional outlook will not improve if this underlying issue is not resolved.
US President Donald Trump is seen behind US flags as he speaks to supporters at a "Great American Comeback" event at Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee, Wisconsin, on 17 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Trump or Biden, the US is on a path of decline

US academic Han Dongping says that electoral politics in the US seems to have deviated from its original intent, which was to elect a leader that represents public opinion. The quest for power is now a game of thrust and parry by the elites and the wealthy, and is rarely in line with what the man on the street needs or wants. Is the “Trump or Biden” toss-up then just a false choice?
Xi Jinping, China's president, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly seen on a laptop computer in Hastings on the Hudson, New York, US, on 22 September 2020. President Xi Jinping took a veiled swipe at the U.S. in a strongly worded speech, saying no country should "be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully or boss of the world." (Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg)

The blacklist: When will China pull the trigger?

China’s new Unreliable Entity List seems to be an echo of US actions. But while the list looks like a potentially lethal tool, it has to be wielded prudently in order not to hurt China’s economy or cause anxiety. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the factors involved.
Yemenis protest against the United Arab Emirates and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in the country's city of Taez on 24 June 2020, after the STC's southern separatists seized control of the strategic island of Socotra. (Ahmad Al-Basha/AFP)

Shifting alliances in the Middle East: Countering the China threat with an Indian Ocean triangle

With an agreement signed recently between Israel and the UAE to normalise relations, Middle East experts detect a shift in focus in the Middle East and North Africa region. Issues in the future will revolve around the divide between the Arabs, Israelis and Americans on one side and Iran on the other. Enter China, who, with its recent upgrade in relations with Iran, as well as interests in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, could up the ante in the region against the backdrop of US-China tensions.
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the South China Sea at sunset, 25 February 2019. (US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Handout via REUTERS)

Apart from ASEAN and China, international community and law are part of South China Sea discourse

With Vietnam at the helm of ASEAN this year, the grouping has wielded the aegis of international law to ensure that international and regional concerns about the South China Sea are respected in Code of Conduct negotiations. ISEAS academic Hoang Thi Ha says that while China prefers to settle SCS issues between itself and ASEAN member states, this is not what ASEAN has in mind.
This handout picture taken on 15 July 2020 and released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile during the annual Han Kuang military drill from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (Handout/Taiwan Defense Ministry/AFP)

The median line of the Taiwan Strait: No longer a boundary for mainland China

Both Taiwan and mainland China have indicated that they would not fire the first shot and would only do so if provoked. Yet signs are increasing that both sides could be stumbling into war. Most recently, the PLA sent its jets over the median line of the Taiwan Strait over three days. Seth Cropsey, director of the Center for American Seapower at Hudson Institute, even offered a date for mainland China to strike. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes a closer look at this quagmire.
A man reads a newspaper on a street in Tokyo, 29 August 2020. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

How Japan will deal with China-US conflict and the Taiwan issue under the new Suga administration

Business cooperation will likely be a key theme of the China-Japan relationship under the new Suga administration, says Japanese academic Shin Kawashima. However, various challenges will continue to beset bilateral relations. All eyes are also on Nobuo Kishi, the new Defence Minister and Shinzō Abe’s younger brother, who has strong ties to Taiwan.
Delivery workers wearing face masks ride scooters in front of Lujiazui financial district, in Shanghai, China, 10 July 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Socialism and universal basic income: Creating happy societies in the age of the knowledge economy

Lance Gore analyses that the knowledge economy offers great potential for bettering the lives of people. But capitalism may not be the best route to take. Power in the hands of a few, income gaps, job losses and wage cuts in the digital age bear this out. Can China offer a third way as it seeks to marry socialism with a market economy? The West is already considering some proposals with a socialist bent such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Surely, proponents of socialism can think of even more revolutionary ideas?
A woman looks out to the Indian Ocean at Meulaboh beach in Aceh on 12 July 2020. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

India in the Indo-Pacific: Reining in China in the new theatre of great power rivalry

In recent times, the Indo-Pacific has evolved from being a geographical concept to a political and strategic construct that means different things to different countries. With Covid-19 turning the international tide against China, proponents of ensuring a “free and open Indo-Pacific” have found more incentive to rally together. Among them, dominant stakeholders such as India can play a bigger role to balance the perceived threat.