East Asia

US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, US, 29 September 2020. (Brian Snyder/REUTERS)

Trump vs Biden: Who makes a better choice for Southeast Asia

US President Donald Trump did not meet a single leader from Southeast Asia since November last year. Despite his administration's seemingly disengaged approach, US relations with key Southeast Asian states including Vietnam and Thailand have improved. ISEAS academics Ian Storey and Malcolm Cook look at the Trump administration's engagement data with Southeast Asian countries over the past year, the party platforms of both the Republicans and the Democrats, as well as recent developments in the region, as they give their take on the possible regional geopolitical environment after the presidential election.
A Union Jack and a Chinese flag on a pole with security cameras in front of a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen gate in Beijing, 31 January 2018. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

A century later, China has closed its doors to Western humanism

British philosopher Bertrand Russell was favourably impressed when he visited China a century ago. More than just advancing business and trade, he saw an opportunity to engage with and positively influence Chinese thinkers of the day. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao looks at the evolution of UK-China relations and the reasons why hopes that China would develop along a certain trajectory may have all been dashed.
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Marine Corps are seen in training in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, China, 20 July 2017. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese academic: Why the PLA conducts simultaneous exercises across different territorial waters

The PLA must guard against the US trying to keep it busy by creating several battlegrounds at the same time, says military affairs commentator Song Zhongping. To be best prepared, the PLA should view the threats from the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea in toto and plan accordingly. This will help them to have more options at their disposal and to de-escalate conflicts as they arise.
A South Korean soldier stands at a checkpoint on the Tongil bridge, the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong joint industrial complex, in the border city of Paju on 24 June 2020. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP)

When giants fight, even the wisest Southeast Asian leaders are left helpless

Hawaii-based academic Denny Roy notes the growing tension between North and South Korea, as well as US relations with China and the rest of the world, and explores how these might affect the situation in Southeast Asia.
People in Tokyo's Gotanda area, April 7, 2020. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in parts of the country, including Tokyo, over a spike in coronavirus infections. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Covid-19: East Asia must play a greater role

East Asian countries are showing early signs of getting the pandemic under control and must channel their relative stability towards spearheading the economic recovery of the region if they wish to play a larger role in shaping the international order post-Covid 19.
China is too big to be average. (AFP)

China cannot be large and average: Strategic positioning of the PRC

Being a country of 1.4 billion people and forming a sizeable part of Asia all on its own, China is inherently positioned to play a significant role in the world. As it finds its place on the world stage, it has to consider other countries - its immediate neighbours, as well as the US. Pang Ruizhi makes one point clear: China is too large to be average.