Military

In this file photo the US flag flies in the foreground as containers are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 18 June 2019 in San Pedro, California. Spending by American consumers and record-high imports as the global economy reopened drove the US trade gap to a new all-time high in March, the Commerce Department reported on 4 May 2021. The trade deficit rose 5.6% to US$74.4 billion, the highest ever recorded and mostly attributable to trade with China. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

The politicisation of China-US trade ties: Showdown between capitalism and communism?

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that China-US trade ties are currently highly politicised, not least because of bilateral military competition, and what the West sees as China’s authoritarian approach in the digital sector. The US trade war is set to see further ripples and partial decoupling of supply chains may worsen. Can this standoff be resolved?
A protester holds a flare as others make the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on 22 June 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: Why China avoids taking a strong stand on Myanmar

Since the military coup in Myanmar in February, China has been criticised by the West for not taking a strong stand against the situation. Chinese researcher Peng Nian explains China's difficult position and its hope for ASEAN to successfully mitigate the problem. What China can do now is to assist Myanmar with the fight against the pandemic, he says.
In this file photo taken on 30 April 2021, a naval officer throws a flower bouquet into the sea during a remembrance ceremony for the crew of the Indonesian navy submarine KRI Nanggala that sank on 21 April during a training exercise, on the deck of the hospital ship KRI Dr. Soeharso off the coast of Bali. (Juni Kriswanto/AFP)

Why Beijing offered to help raise the sunken Indonesian submarine Nanggala

China recently offered assistance to Indonesia in salvaging the sunken Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 2 in the Bali Sea. The submarine was lost on 21 April with its 53 crew members. ISEAS senior fellow Ian Storey examines Beijing's other intentions besides altruism.
A Taiwan Navy honour guard looks on in front of a Taiwan flag during the launch ceremony for the Taiwan Navy's domestically built amphibious transport dock "Yushan" in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 13 April 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Will the Taiwan Strait issue be internationalised under Biden?

Mainland China has most recently sent 28 aircraft close to Taiwan, prompting concerns that the situation in the Taiwan Strait might boil over, not least with US-led actions possibly internationalising the issue. What’s the true temperature of the situation? Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu reports.
A UH-1J helicopter flies during a live fire exercise at Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) training grounds in the East Fuji Manuever Area in Gotemba on 22 May 2021. (Akio Kon/AFP)

Japan’s weapons transfers to Southeast Asia: Opportunities and challenges

Research fellow Victor Teo says that Japan’s re-emergence as a weapon exporter is fuelled by desires to increase Japanese capabilities, counteract China’s rise, hedge against possible future strategic abandonment by the US, fund next-generation weapon research, and foster Japan’s global leadership and influence in Southeast Asia. Using its overseas development assistance to the region, it is promoting the transfer of weapon systems, naval vessels and surveillance planes, particularly to Southeast Asian claimant states in the South China Sea. What are the implications of these actions?
Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) soldiers wearing protective face masks arrive for a live fire exercise at JGSDF's training grounds in the East Fuji Maneuver Area in Gotemba, Japan, on 22 May 2021. A key part of US President Joe Bidens foreign policy has been turning to allies for support in addressing the security risks posed by the likes of China and North Korea, placing a greater emphasis on the Indo-Pacific region. (Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

What removing the defence budget cap means for Japan’s role in the Indo-Pacific

​Since 1976, Japan’s defence budget has traditionally been capped at 1% of its GDP. However, in a recent interview, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that this self-imposed limit would effectively be removed.
This handout photo from the Royal Malaysian Air Force taken on 31 May 2021 and released on 1 June shows a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Xian Y-20 aircraft that Malaysian authorities said was in the airspace over Malaysia's maritime zone near the coast of Sarawak state on Borneo island. (Handout/Royal Malaysian Air Force/AFP)

Can Malaysia handle intrusions by the Chinese air force?

The 31 May incident, in which 16 Chinese military planes entered the airspace above Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, raises questions about Malaysia's ability to handle such occurrences in the future, says RSIS researcher Wu Shang-Su. He takes a hard look at Malaysia’s airpower capabilities.
Philippine Coast Guard personnel are seen onboard rubber boats as they sail near Chinese vessels believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel at Whitsun Reef, South China Sea, in a handout photo distributed by the Philippine Coast guard 15 April 2021. (Philippine Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters)

Philippine-US cooperation on Whitsun Reef: A 'win' for the Biden team in Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asian views of the US declined during the Trump administration, and persisted into the Biden administration early on in the year. But Washington’s sustained support for Manila amid the latter’s recent confrontation with China in the South China Sea has helped to offset negative perceptions of Uncle Sam in the region.
Vietnamese military new recruits at a ceremony before leaving for military service, in Hanoi, Vietnam, 27 February 2021. (Thanh Hue/Reuters)

Rising tensions in the South China Sea: Rising power of Vietnamese army

The Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) appears to be gaining leverage in Vietnam’s political system. This increasing influence reflects the security concerns of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) over growing tensions in the South China Sea, and its political position has also benefited from the growing importance of the defence industry and the commercial success of military-run businesses. How would such a development affect Vietnam's political, economic and foreign policy outlook?