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US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens to journalists' questions during a news conference, at a hotel in Mexico City, 30 April 2015. (Henry Romero/File Photo/Reuters)

The Chinese are hopeful about Antony Blinken’s appointment as the US’s top diplomat

Chinese media commentators have thus far been sanguine about incoming US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They hope that his past rhetoric of engaging China and advancing practical cooperation will make a return with him when he assumes his post. But have US-China relations gone down too far a road of no-return?
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a bridge across the Bassac river in Phnom Penh on 26 October 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Cambodia needs to avoid putting all its eggs in the Chinese basket

Cambodia’s post-pandemic foreign policy is constrained by the need to sustain its economic growth while maintaining independence and sovereignty, amid the challenge and uncertainty caused by the growing strategic competition between China and the US. Academic Kimkong Heng says Cambodia needs to refrain from actions that appear to serve China’s core strategic interests, proactively engage all strategic partners, and walk a diplomatic tightrope between China and the US.
A figurine depicting U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden is pictured at a shop on Via San Gregorio Armeno, the famous street in Naples dedicated to producing nativity figurines, where shops are currently closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Naples, Italy, 19 November 2020. (Ciro De Luca/REUTERS)

US vs China: Who is more resilient?

Even as some dismiss the US and say it is set on a downward trajectory, commentator Deng Qingbo says its powers of recovery are too strong for it to be ruled out. As a superpower, it has the means to make adjustments and move forward. China has much of that resilience too, given that is the only country in the world with an unbroken civilisation of 5,000 years. Deng examines the strengths and weaknesses of both nations in terms of their abilities to recover from setbacks, and their nimbleness in correcting mistakes.
A girl sits on the shoulders of her father outside the Forbidden City during the national day marking the 71st anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the country's national "Golden Week" holiday in Beijing on 1 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

RCEP: The start of a new ‘China-centric’ order?

RCEP, the largest free trade agreement signed thus far, includes China, Japan and South Korea — the largest, second, and fourth largest economies in Asia. This heralds a new Asian era, says Zheng Weibin. Apart from the pure economic benefits that this will bring, the fact that the US is not a part of the grouping gives China some leverage against moves from the US such as its military presence in East Asia and attempts to reforge alliances against China. In this game of move and countermove, who will be the first to say "checkmate"?
People celebrate at Times Square in New York after Joe Biden was declared winner of the 2020 presidential election on 7 November 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

Biden presidency a turning point for China-US relations?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan says that while US President-elect Joe Biden will have his hands full with domestic issues when he assumes office, at the very least, his approach to US-China relations will be less antagonistic than that of his predecessor’s. That in itself leaves room for the relationship to move forward from ground zero.
This picture taken and released on 30 October 2020 by the Vietnam News Agency shows Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) bumping elbows to greet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before a meeting in Hanoi. (Bui Lam Khanh/Vietnam News Agency/AFP)

Overzealous attempts by China and the US to sway Southeast Asia countries counter-productive

Southeast Asian countries prefer a healthy balance of power between major powers in the region. This is often overlooked by China and the US, which want them to take a stand on issues of concern. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook suggests that recent attempts by China and the US to gain support from certain Southeast Asian countries may, in fact, drive them away.
In this file photo taken on 19 October 2020, US President Donald Trump dances as he leaves a rally at Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Arizona. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Why Trump should have two Twitter accounts

The Chinese need to do better to counter misleading tweets from US President Trump’s Twitter propaganda machine, say China academics Li Yongning and Wen Jiandong. As controversial a figure as he is, Trump commands a Twitter following of more than 80 million. Some of his questionable tweets have likely contributed to the deterioration of people-to-people relations between the US and China.
Prabowo Subianto looks on before taking his oath as appointed Defense Minister during the inauguration at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 23 October 2019. (Willy Kurniawan/REUTERS)

After a 20-year ban, why was Indonesia's Prabowo invited to the US?

Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto's visit to Washington DC has raised many eyebrows and questions, says Leo Suryadinata. Is the US worried about Indonesia leaning too much towards China?
Indian soldiers stand in a formation after disembarking from a military transport plane at a forward airbase in Leh, in the Ladakh region, 15 September 2020. (Danish Siddiqui/REUTERS)

Containing China: US and India to sign third military agreement in ‘strategic embrace’

The US and India are set to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement at the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this month, rounding out the trio of foundational agreements between them for comprehensive military cooperation. Hong Kong-based commentator Zheng Hao says this portends greater threats for China, the unspoken target of closer US-India military ties.