China-US competition

Robin Li, co-founder and chairman of Baidu.com Inc., poses during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on 23 January 2008. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News)

What happened to Baidu, once China's golden boy of innovation?

Wang Yanbo picks apart news of Baidu’s alleged plans to raise up to $2 billion over three years to invest in a biotech start-up, which would use AI technology to develop drugs and help diagnose diseases. Is this yet another example of business giants flailing into unchartered territory to seek new growth? Wasn’t China’s multi-billion dollar search market Baidu’s to harvest once Google ceased its Chinese operations in 2010 amid cyberattacks and censorship issues?
Xi Jinping, China's president, speaks during the United Nations General Assembly seen on a laptop computer in Hastings on the Hudson, New York, US, on 22 September 2020. President Xi Jinping took a veiled swipe at the U.S. in a strongly worded speech, saying no country should "be allowed to do whatever it likes and be the hegemon, bully or boss of the world." (Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg)

The blacklist: When will China pull the trigger?

China’s new Unreliable Entity List seems to be an echo of US actions. But while the list looks like a potentially lethal tool, it has to be wielded prudently in order not to hurt China’s economy or cause anxiety. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the factors involved.
Customers wait in line outside a Shake Shack Inc. restaurant in Beijing, China on 20 September 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Is it possible to decouple from the world's biggest market and factory?

Despite US efforts to reduce reliance on China and decouple from it, the process will not be easy, given China’s enormous economic influence. Even with countries such as Vietnam trying to take China’s place as the “world’s factory”, their capacity is limited. However, this does not mean that China’s position is assured, as other countries are noticing China’s penchant for using its economic might as a bargaining chip.
The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the South China Sea at sunset, 25 February 2019. (US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Handout via REUTERS)

Apart from ASEAN and China, international community and law are part of South China Sea discourse

With Vietnam at the helm of ASEAN this year, the grouping has wielded the aegis of international law to ensure that international and regional concerns about the South China Sea are respected in Code of Conduct negotiations. ISEAS academic Hoang Thi Ha says that while China prefers to settle SCS issues between itself and ASEAN member states, this is not what ASEAN has in mind.
This handout picture taken on 15 July 2020 and released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a warship launching a US-made Harpoon missile during the annual Han Kuang military drill from an unlocated place in the sea near Taiwan. (Handout/Taiwan Defense Ministry/AFP)

The median line of the Taiwan Strait: No longer a boundary for mainland China

Both Taiwan and mainland China have indicated that they would not fire the first shot and would only do so if provoked. Yet signs are increasing that both sides could be stumbling into war. Most recently, the PLA sent its jets over the median line of the Taiwan Strait over three days. Seth Cropsey, director of the Center for American Seapower at Hudson Institute, even offered a date for mainland China to strike. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan takes a closer look at this quagmire.
A man reads a newspaper on a street in Tokyo, 29 August 2020. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

How Japan will deal with China-US conflict and the Taiwan issue under the new Suga administration

Business cooperation will likely be a key theme of the China-Japan relationship under the new Suga administration, says Japanese academic Shin Kawashima. However, various challenges will continue to beset bilateral relations. All eyes are also on Nobuo Kishi, the new Defence Minister and Shinzō Abe’s younger brother, who has strong ties to Taiwan.
A woman looks out to the Indian Ocean at Meulaboh beach in Aceh on 12 July 2020. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

India in the Indo-Pacific: Reining in China in the new theatre of great power rivalry

In recent times, the Indo-Pacific has evolved from being a geographical concept to a political and strategic construct that means different things to different countries. With Covid-19 turning the international tide against China, proponents of ensuring a “free and open Indo-Pacific” have found more incentive to rally together. Among them, dominant stakeholders such as India can play a bigger role to balance the perceived threat.
A cleaner walks past screens promoting Disney's movie Mulan as the film opens in China, at a cinema in Beijing, China, 11 September 2020. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Mulan: The people-pleaser that ended up offending all?

Companies like Disney hoping to capture the huge Chinese market must buck up and understand the cultural and political sensitivities involved even more. Otherwise, in an age of increased tension between China and the West, they might find themselves tripping up over landmines from both sides.
Yoshihide Suga gestures as he is elected as new head of the ruling party at the Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) leadership election paving the way for him to replace Shinzō Abe, in Tokyo, 14 September 2020. (Kyodo via REUTERS)

Japan's foreign policy under Yoshihide Suga: Countering chaos with pragmatism

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has been confirmed as Japan’s incoming prime minister, following a vote in parliament today. What would his foreign policy priorities be as prime minister?