China-US cooperation

US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet announcement event in Wilmington, Delaware, on 24 November 2020. (Chandan Khanna/AFP)

Can Biden’s US lead the world?

US President-elect Joe Biden has said that the US is back and ready to lead the world. Can he really turn things around? The US-China relationship, for one, is already in a serious state of distrust and acrimony. While the methods differ, says Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao, the intended outcomes of the Biden administration’s China policy would likely be very similar to the previous administration’s. But before playing a global leading role of any kind, Biden will have to find a way to prevent his every step from being hindered by conservative Republicans in Congress.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on screens in the media center as he speaks at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, 4 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China’s true intentions in wanting to join the CPTPP

After years of being excluded from the TPP that later became the CPTPP, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently commented that China is “favourably considering” joining the CPTPP. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at why China seems to be keen to hop on this bandwagon which was originally set up to target China.
People celebrate at Times Square in New York after Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential election on 7 November 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

Biden presidency a turning point for China-US relations?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan says that while US President-elect Joe Biden will have his hands full with domestic issues when he assumes office, at the very least, his approach to US-China relations will be less antagonistic than that of his predecessor’s. That in itself leaves room for the relationship to move forward from ground zero.
26 December 1944, India-Burma border — Members of the Chinese Expeditionary Force stationed in India are boarding the American M4A4 tanks, known as M4 Sherman, to push into northern Burma to support the offensives of the US-China Joint Forces. The Allied forces prioritised the recapture of Burma as a key ground operation in the Far East.

75th anniversary of the end of WWII: Ashes to glory in the China-Burma-India Theatre

As the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao recounts the events in the Pacific theatre, noting that Chinese troops who were part of the Allied forces also played a significant role in the China-Burma-India Theatre.
A boat arriving in Singapore with coolies, circa 1900. The coolies step out of the hold and stand on deck for a photograph taken by the German boat owner. This is a rare and valuable image because there are generally no photographs of early Chinese coolies. Coloured using modern image-processing technology, the photograph takes us right back to that boat deck a century ago, giving us a hint of how these coolies must have looked and felt upon arriving at their destination.

An album of rare photos: From Chinese coolies to Singaporeans

From the 19th century to the 1920s and 1930s, ships transporting hundreds of Chinese coolies ready to work hard and make their "fortune" in Nanyang often docked at Kallang River. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao recently obtained an album with rare photographs of such a ship bringing coolies from Xiamen in Fujian, China, to Singapore in the early 20th century. They are an authentic visual record of Chinese coolies in Singapore a century ago and a powerful throwback to that period.
People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in sports uniform march next to the entrance to the Forbidden City (back) after the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, 22 May 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Will China and the US fight another wrong war, with the wrong enemy, at the wrong place and time?

China academic Zhang Jie notes that the fates and fortunes of China and the US are intertwined. Being in the same boat, the two should pull in the same direction and row well together. Anything else may catapult China and the US on the road to decoupling and further conflict, creating risks not only for themselves, but the world. In that regard, China managing relations with a constellation of key players such as Japan, South Korea and the EU will prove pivotal in guarding against accidental slippages into hot war.
Mochtar Riady, founder of Lippo Group. (SPH)

Lippo Group founder Mochtar Riady: Globalisation without China is unrealistic

Nonagenarian Mochtar Riady, founder of Lippo Group in Indonesia, shared his views on “New Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Covid-19 World” at a webinar yesterday. He believes that with its combined strength, ASEAN can weather any potential headwinds of deglobalisation. And contrary to what others predict, China’s place in global supply chains is firmly anchored and the country looks set to play a leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
A man looks at a globe in a park in Wuhan, 8 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

What is China's next move? It has two alternatives

Economics professor Yu Zhi points out that the ball is in China’s court as to whether it will continue being plugged in to the international economic system and whether globalisation itself will continue on its path. In the medium- to long-term, he sees that it is in China’s interest to stay the course and scenarios of decoupling between China and the West are much exaggerated. However, how China sees its strategic role in the world in the future is something its leaders and people have to give great thought to, not in the future, but right now.
Professor Wang Gungwu speaks on China, the coronavirus, and the prospect of a divided world. (SPH)

Wang Gungwu: Even if the West has lost its way, China may not be heir apparent

In a wide-ranging email interview with ThinkChina editor Chow Yian Ping, sinologist Wang Gungwu shares his thoughts on how China and the world have changed because of the pandemic. He keenly observes that Chinese leaders have sought greater control over the population in recent years, and the situation will worsen as the pandemic deepens their insecurities. On the international stage, an intense clash of interests among the major powers looks set to keep nations divided. On the micro-level however, he takes heart that a “globalisation from below” is taking place; the fact that the virus knows no borders has brought people closer together, with opportunities for reset.