Diplomacy

The Chinese flag flutters on Tiananmen Square before the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, 21 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/REUTERS)

China wants 'co-opetition' with the US, but can that happen?

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima says that China had until recently reined itself in while working to form new power relations in the face of friction with the US. Since the spread of the coronavirus however, it has become more brazen in criticising the US. While it has said several times that it is not out to replace the US and that it seeks to build a “shared future for mankind”, will China stay the path of seeking cooperation amid competition?
A man looks at a globe in a park in Wuhan, 8 April 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

What is China's next move? It has two alternatives

Economics professor Yu Zhi points out that the ball is in China’s court as to whether it will continue being plugged in to the international economic system and whether globalisation itself will continue on its path. In the medium- to long-term, he sees that it is in China’s interest to stay the course and scenarios of decoupling between China and the West are much exaggerated. However, how China sees its strategic role in the world in the future is something its leaders and people have to give great thought to, not in the future, but right now.
Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after a meeting ahead of National People's Congress (NPC), China's annual session of parliament, in Beijing, 4 March 2019. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

China's military spending amid the pandemic: Will it go up or down this year?

China's economy has taken a hit from the pandemic, but in the face of external challenges from the US and concerns over cross-straits relations, military spending is expected to be one major topic at China’s upcoming "two sessions". Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan examines the evidence as to whether it will go up or down.
Professor Wang Gungwu speaks on China, the coronavirus, and the prospect of a divided world. (SPH)

Wang Gungwu: Even if the West has lost its way, China may not be heir apparent

In a wide-ranging email interview with ThinkChina editor Chow Yian Ping, sinologist Wang Gungwu shares his thoughts on how China and the world have changed because of the pandemic. He keenly observes that Chinese leaders have sought greater control over the population in recent years, and the situation will worsen as the pandemic deepens their insecurities. On the international stage, an intense clash of interests among the major powers looks set to keep nations divided. On the micro-level however, he takes heart that a “globalisation from below” is taking place; the fact that the virus knows no borders has brought people closer together, with opportunities for reset.
Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet. 
The Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt is pictured on 1 March 2020 with the Chinese flag projected on it in solidarity with the Chinese people amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (AFP)

‘Wolf-warrior diplomacy’: China's new normal?

Taking an aggressive stance will do Chinese diplomats little good in their efforts to control the narrative, says Zhu Zhiqun. In fact, such behaviour offends the very people they hope to persuade. However, is wolf-warrior diplomacy becoming the new normal?
People walk past closed stores on the Nakamise shopping street leading to the Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, Japan, on 25 April 2020. (Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg)

Warming up of China-Japan ties hijacked by the pandemic

A severely disrupted supply chain, an inevitable blame game, a collision in the East China Sea... Dr Amrita Jash says that like many things this year, the warming up of China-Japan ties has been hijacked by the spread of Covid-19 and its aftermath.
Will the global pandemic push humanity to reflect, make progress, and arrive at better global governance? In this photo taken on 27 April 2020 (rotated 180 degrees), a man is reflected on a puddle of water in a public square during the coronavirus outbreak in Valparaiso, Chile. (Rodrigo Garrido/Reuters)

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the chasms of the world, but can humanity reflect and make progress?

Chinese academic Deng Xize is mostly pessimistic as he traces lessons from history to conclude that international cooperation is only tenable with the combination of well-functioning international institutions and concert among the major powers. In light of further tensions between China and the US arising from the pandemic, he sees little room for cooperation on a global scale, and instead, only greater signs of animosity of the sort seen during the Cold War.
Staff members keeping watch at a checkpoint in the border city of Suifenhe, in China's northeastern Heilongjiang province, April 21, 2020. (STR/AFP)

Did China win the fight against the virus but lose the world?

With the US state of Missouri suing China over the coronavirus, and Western leaders coming together to demand greater transparency and accountability from China, Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines what went wrong with China's communications with the West during the pandemic. Is there anything China can do to improve its international image and diplomatic position?