ASEAN

A rapidKL train travels along an elevated track above streets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1 June 2021. (Samsul Said/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies see ASEAN as a bright spot for investment

According to a pulse survey conducted by Standard Chartered, Chinese companies are attracted to ASEAN’s large market and potential as regional production bases. External factors such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP) could also funnel greater Chinese investment into the region in areas such as high-value manufacturing, energy and digital services.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 6 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Dual circulation strategy revisited: China deepens integration with the global economy

When China’s “dual circulation” strategy was launched last year, some analysts interpreted it to mean that China would be focusing more on its domestic market. Figures show otherwise. Studying trade and investment indicators over the past few months, Chen Gang concludes that China’s economic engagement with the world is increasing as it runs on dual domestic and external engines.
Wind turbines at the San Gorgonio Pass wind farm in Whitewater, California, U.S., 3 June 2021. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg)

US-China competition in climate cooperation a good thing for Southeast Asia

The US is back in the international climate cooperation game, but the influence it will have remains to be seen. Its passing of a new omnibus package which includes major energy provisions to address climate change provides hope that partisan divides are not insurmountable. On China’s part, its 14th Five-Year Plan demonstrates strong impetus to tackle climate change issues. As for ASEAN, the ASEAN-China Strategy on Environmental Cooperation papers has enabled cooperation with China to progress well, but cooperation with the US can be improved with an institutional framework to bring climate cooperation to a higher level.
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?
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.
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks past an advertisement for China's mid-year shopping festival of JD.com in Beijing, China, 27 May 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China e-commerce players tap ASEAN market for growth

The demographic dividend and rapidly developing e-commerce ecosystem in Southeast Asia has attracted many Chinese e-commerce companies to make their foray to the region. However, problems from language to payment and logistics persist. To cope with the changing landscape, platforms are also providing merchants with one-stop services to facilitate their cross-border businesses. In the e-commerce world where everything changes rapidly, platforms and merchants must adapt quickly to survive. 
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.
An elderly woman gets inoculated with a dose of the Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at a drive-in vaccination facility in Mumbai on 11 May 2021. (Punit Paranjpe/AFP)

Indian academic: The Quad and ASEAN can find solutions together

With the pandemic sweeping through India, assistance from its neighbours and beyond has been crucial, not least from its partners in the Quad arrangement. Indian academic Shruti Pandalai says while the Quad is working with ASEAN on vaccine development and delivery during the pandemic, such collaboration can move into other areas such as technology and climate change in the future.
Morning commuters wearing face masks, amidst concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus, ride past in Hanoi on 4 May 2021. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Southeast Asia: A hotspot for Chinese enterprises in the post-pandemic era?

With growing competition and tension between China and the US, one region that China is looking to is Southeast Asia. Many major Chinese companies are expanding their operations into ASEAN countries, using them as manufacturing and assembly bases or springboards to the region. Zaobao's associate foreign news editor Sim Tze Wei examines the possibilities.