Diplomacy

People walk by the New York Stock Exchange at the start of the trading day on 3 June 2022 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Could the end of the China-US trade war be near?

With the latest virtual call between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, observers are anticipating that the US will lift the Trump-era punitive tariffs on China and de-escalate the four-year-long China-US trade war that has hurt both economies. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks at how the situation might develop and how Biden might play his cards.
A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner taxis past the Final Assembly Building at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, South Carolina, US, 31 March 2017. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

Boeing losing out amid strained China-US trade relations

Three of China’s major airlines have announced plans to purchase about 300 aircrafts from Europe’s Airbus, much to the chagrin of the US’s Boeing. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan discusses the reasons behind the move and what this might portend.
China's State Councilor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe gestures before a plenary session during the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, 12 June 2022. (Caroline Chia/Reuters)

China at the centre of the world’s politics

Former journalist Goh Choon Kang observes that whether it is the discussions at the recently concluded Shangri-La Dialogue or the larger machinations of geopolitics, it cannot be denied that having China in the picture changes many things, and perhaps even provides countries with more strategic options.
People shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on 13 June 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran seeks greater regional role through full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While some pundits have it that Iran sees gaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of geopolitics, Fan Hongda thinks that the more bread-and-butter concern of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is on its mind. But this is not to say that Iran does not harbour ambitions of playing a greater regional role.
US President Joe Biden speaks with members of the media before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the White House in Washington, US, 17 June 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

US sets up strategic obstacles against 'autocratic' China

Political commentator William He notes that the Biden administration is clear and sharp with its China policy and strategy. It is setting up strategic obstacles to contain "autocratic" China, addressing long-term fundamental issues such as the right to speak on global values and order, and maintaining the lead in military powers and forming alliances.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a giant screen as he delivers a speech at the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China’s pragmatic party diplomacy in Southeast Asia

The Chinese Communist Party’s outreach to political parties in Southeast Asia, regardless of ideology, underscores the pragmatism in President Xi Jinping’s plan for regional influence. From issues of the economy to human rights, the CCP is clearly seeking to counter the Western narrative and improve its image in Southeast Asia.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks along with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

No new market access, but IPEF could be a promising start

The newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity has arguably low or no ambition around market access, but perhaps because of its non-contentious nature, could be a promising start. Countries in the region welcome options amid fears of Chinese economic coercion and may just provide the momentum needed when the time is ripe.
Quad summit leaders US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kantei Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

India in Quad: Black sheep or dark horse

The joint statement issued following the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo on 24 May neither condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nor committed the quartet to imposing economic sanctions on Russia. The twin failure or reluctance was largely attributed to India’s unwillingness to jeopardise its deep ties to Russia. But even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, analysts have been describing India as an “outlier” in the group. Is India really the weakest link, or will it eventually emerge as the keystone in the quartet?
US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listen to other leaders joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event virtually, at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

IPEF: How committed are the US and ASEAN countries?

Recent moves by the US, not least President Biden's recent launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), are meant to woo Asian countries. Several ASEAN countries are receptive to the IPEF and the US naturally considers those who join as "friends". But will this count for much? Japanese academic Seiya Sukegawa examines the many unanswered questions with regard to the new framework.