China-US competition

People walk in Qianmen street in Beijing, China, on 21 September 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Mainland China and Taiwan: The political hot potato of their CPTPP bids

Soon after mainland China put in its official application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Taiwan followed suit. The CPTPP is an agreement forged between 11 members sans the US when the latter withdrew from the then Transnational Pacific Partnership (TPP). Joining it would require tough internal changes from both mainland China or Taiwan. Who is more committed to the needed reforms? But does that even matter when it will be the political signature that counts from here on? Incoming CPTPP chair Singapore will have its work cut out.
A general view shows the Lujiazui financial district (left) in Shanghai, China, on 22 September 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China joining the CPTPP: It's a matter of time

Zhang Rui analyses that there are more pros than cons to China’s entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) whether one looks at it from China’s individual economy, regional industrial chains or global income gains. However, sizeable obstacles stand in the way of its entry, not least US-led political roadblocks, even if the latter is not currently a member of the reconfigured CPTPP. China’s internal system and regulations will also have to change to meet the rigours of the high-standard CPTPP. Can China play the long game and will the world truly move closer towards Asia-Pacific economic integration?
A police barricade is seen in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)

AUKUS: Aggravating tensions and dividing the world

Australia, the US and the UK recently launched the enhanced trilateral security partnership “AUKUS”. American academic Zhu Zhiqun believes that AUKUS is divisive and serves the interests of the US military-industrial complex. It has also raised the stakes in China’s threat perceptions, given the unspoken target of the grouping. And now that Australia has picked a side, how will power dynamics play out in the Indo-Pacific region? Will China also seek alliances to strengthen itself?
A journalist takes a picture of the national flag during a visit to the Museum of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China, on 25 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

The US has AUKUS. Where are China's alliances?

The formation of the AUKUS security pact involving Australia, the US and the UK will likely give the US and its allies greater strategic depth in the Indo-Pacific, says Wei Da. He believes that the containment of China has moved up a notch and China has to recalibrate its thinking accordingly. One way is to shore up its own alliances, which have traditionally neither been strong nor constant. What can China do about it?
Mainland China has halted imports of sugar apples and wax apples from Taiwan due to checks that revealed pests on the fruits. (CNS)

Beijing bans Taiwan fruit imports: Impoverishing Taiwan to achieve reunification?

Following a block of pineapple imports from Taiwan in February, mainland China has followed up with a halt on sugar apples and wax apples. While the blocks were seemingly due to pests found on the fruits, could there be a political reason behind the moves? And could the moves help achieve China's aim?
A visitor takes a photograph in front of an electronic American flag in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, US, on 4 September 2021. (Amir Hamja/Bloomberg)

Chinese academic: China will pay the price for underestimating the US

The US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was ugly and messy, but certainly not anywhere catastrophic enough to say that this marks the end of US hegemony. China should not underestimate the US’s strength. In fact, while the US flexes its muscles in conventional warfare and pledges a “no first use” nuclear stance, China should beef up its nuclear deterrence quotient for greater insurance against the US.
In this file photo taken on 23 October 2019, a Facebook employee tries out an Oculus device at the company's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. (Josh Edelson/AFP)

China-US competition: Who will set the rules in a digital world?

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that while the China-US competition is a tussle for power that some would compare to the Cold War of the 20th century, digital technology is making all the difference in the 21st century. Today's competition is taking place amid changing definitions of national strength and economic power, and China needs to catch up in terms of growing its digital economy and meeting the challenges that come with it.
A woman walks with an umbrella amid rainfall in Shanghai, China, 13 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why China needs to set its own house in order with a regulatory spurt

China has introduced a wave of strong regulatory moves on various industries over the past months, alarming international observers and causing jitters in the financial market. However, says academic Gu Qingyang, these moves could be necessary and might just set China in the right direction to face future challenges better.
Cyclists traverse the main quad on Stanford University's campus in Stanford, California, US, on 9 May 2014. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters)

Why US academics are protesting against the Department of Justice’s ‘China Initiative’

The former Trump administration launched the China Initiative in 2018, ostensibly to protect US national security interests. However, a recent open letter by US academics calling for an end to the initiative seems to suggest that the programme is not what it set out to be. Zaobao’s China Desk examines the China Initiative and what it has achieved — or not.