Japan

The cheers from the civilian Russians show that to Russia, there was no doubt of victory in the war. They called the Japanese “yellow monkeys”, and believed that Japan was too weak to dare to attack. They thought the Russian army had the absolute advantage and winning was just a matter of time.

[Photo story] Russo-Japanese War: A war fought on Chinese soil and its hard lessons

The Russo-Japanese War was in fact not fought in either Russia or Japan, but in China. It was the culmination of a fierce rivalry between a Eurasian power and an Asian country that showed it could hold its own against a much bigger opponent. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao takes us through a painful period in history that saw many Chinese lives taken.
Cranes unload imported iron ore from a cargo vessel at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, 27 October 2019. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

Will China have enough natural resources to sustain its growth?

It is no longer an unqualified truism that China is a vast land of abundant resources, says Chen Hongbin. While it is rich in minerals such as rare earths, it is one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas, oil and iron ore, and is paying through its nose in some cases to reach a level of sufficiency. How can China achieve greater energy security?
In this file photo taken on 8 November 2020, supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party wave flags, with the car bearing an image of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in front of the party's office in Mandalay. (Ye Naing Ye/AFP)

Myanmar: Why the US lost to China a long time ago

​In Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao’s analysis, China’s strategic priority after the South China Sea is the Indian Ocean, and it is getting its ducks in a row by winning over key nodes such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Myanmar coup has made it distinctly clear that while the West has been obsessed with Aung San Suu Kyi as a beacon of democracy, the Chinese have been steadily advancing in influence over Myanmar. More than any calls the US and their allies can make, it is China’s move, or not, which can have a significant impact.
Myanmar citizens living in India hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar, in New Delhi, India, 5 February 2021. (Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters)

India needs a united, democratic Myanmar outside China's strategic orbit. Can that happen?

In recent decades, India’s engagement with Myanmar has been shaped by Delhi’s growing regional contestation with Beijing as well as its growing strategic partnership with the US. As a close neighbour with clear stakes in the region, India has to tread carefully. In the aftermath of Myanmar’s latest military coup, how will it tread even more lightly, neither helping to drive Myanmar into the arms of China, nor forsaking the values it shares with allies such as the US?
Royal Australian Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and United States Navy warships sail in formation during the Pacific Vanguard 2020 exercise, 11 September 2020. (Official Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo)

Japan's diplomatic note to counter China's growing assertiveness in South China Sea

Academic Nguyen Hong Thao observes that Japan’s latest note verbale to the United Nations on the South China Sea was done out of its national interest. Nonetheless, it shows that Tokyo — and a growing coalition of countries — are digging in their heels to uphold the aegis of international law in the region.
People walk along a commercial street in central Paris, France, on 23 December 2020. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

Securing its place in the world economic order: The EU can't afford to wait for the US

The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

Indo-Pacific: The central theatre of 21st century great power struggle

ISEAS academic Daljit Singh notes that the new great power contest has spilled over into the Indian Ocean, and the term “Indo-Pacific” will better reflect the strategic geography of this central theatre of the 21st century great power struggle.
This photo taken on 4 January 2021 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region. (STR/AFP)

Japanese academic: China needs to show more self-restraint in PLA's military activities

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has ramped up its military activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan in the year 2020. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki believes that such actions will continue to escalate this coming year. He thinks China needs to exercise some restraint to avoid destabilising the status quo in the East Asia region.
A button featuring President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inauguration is on display by a street vendor in Eatonton, Georgia, 2 January 2021. (Alex Wong/AFP)

Japanese academic: The Chinese and Japanese differ in their perceptions of Biden's China policy

With US President-elect Joe Biden poised to take office in a week, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima compares how China and Japan view the incoming administration, and how their differing views may impact on foreign relations and geopolitics.