Xi Jinping

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 8 October 2020. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP)

Will Beijing hinder Moscow's operations in the South China Sea?

The South China Sea poses a stress test in Russia-China relations, pitting China’s claims against Russian energy interests.
A news report on Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in the city of Shenzhen is shown on a public screen in Hong Kong, 14 October 2020. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Xi's five-year plan for Shenzhen: A hard road ahead?

Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, such that its GDP reached a massive 2.7 trillion RMB in 2019. Just this month, the Chinese government released a five-year plan to make Shenzhen a “pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Amid plans for reforms and new initiatives, EAI academic Yu Hong asks: How much autonomy will Shenzhen have, and what challenges will it face?
People work in a rice field of Runguo Agriculture Development Company during a media tour organised by the local government in Zhenjiang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 13 October 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Pandemic, floods, locusts and shrinking farming population: Will China suffer a food crisis?

China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.
In 1988, Lee Kuan Yew met 84-year-old Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping at the Fujian Room of the Great Hall of the People. This was Lee’s last meeting with Deng. (SPH)

Beyond 30 years: History, places and images of Singapore-China relations

In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, Lianhe Zaobao and ThinkChina present "In the Founders' Footsteps", a pictorial retrospective of Deng Xiaoping's visit to Singapore in 1978 and of Lee Kuan Yew's 33 trips to China between 1976 and 2011. Lee Huay Leng, editor of the photobook, says she was surprised not only by how widely Lee had travelled during those years, but by Lee's steadfast belief in China's reform and opening up. His predictions of China's future and its relations to the world also struck her as visionary and prescient.      
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend the first working session of the G20 Summit. (G20 OSAKA)

Four turning points: How Abe got China-Japan relations out of negative territory

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the evolution of Japan-China relations in the eight years under the Abe administration, and concludes that though Abe helped to normalise Japan-China relations, the future development of bilateral relations remains unpredictable and more precarious. 
People are reflected in a puddle after a rainfall as they walk along a shopping district in Beijing on 18 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Will China's inward economic shift lead to a closed society?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently emphasised the concept of “domestic circulation”, or focusing on domestic markets. But while this might prompt concern that China’s economy may be shut off from the rest of the world, given current circumstances, this is unlikely. What China needs to guard against though, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, is the groupthink generated by a closed loop of ideas.
People walk past a giant screen showing a news footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing a face mask, at a shopping area in Beijing, 31 July 2020. (Tingshu Wang/REUTERS)

Xi Jinping's possible visit to South Korea sparks speculations

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Japan in March was postponed, but next on his list of possible destinations for an official visit might be South Korea. Following Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit in December 2019, Politburo member Yang Jiechi visited South Korea in late August, possibly paving the way for a visit by Xi. What does that mean for China's relations with South Korea and with Japan as tensions between China and the US continue to escalate?
20 August 2020: Yang (left) visited the Deng Xiaoping Marker at ACM Green, which commemorates Deng’s landmark visit to Singapore in 1978 and his contributions to the friendship between Singapore and China. (SPH)

Yang Jiechi’s Singapore visit: Seeking strategic space

China appears to be making a concerted effort to reach out to friendlier countries in an effort to draw them closer. Yang Jiechi, who is a Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, is visiting Singapore and South Korea this week. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook thinks that both China and Singapore are seeking to broaden their strategic space amid a more unpredictable and precarious world.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend the first working session of the G20 Summit in Osaka, 28 June 2019. (G20 OSAKA)

Strong China-Japan relations a fantasy in a divisive world: Will ASEAN benefit?

Since the coronavirus pandamic hit, Japan has been trying to reduce an overdependence on China vis-à-vis its supply chains. But this is by no means a sign that it wants to decouple from the Chinese economy. Several Japanese firms in fact have the intention to expand their operations in China. However, the geopolitical situation and other factors have meant a sharp deterioration in bilateral relations including the stalling of a planned state visit by President Xi Jinping. International politics professor David Arase opines that even with the best of intentions and efforts, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe would find it difficult to maintain meaningful relations with China in a divisive world. Closer Japan-ASEAN ties may be one of the upsides out of the chaos.