Economy

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is pictured on the screen (right) as he addresses his counterparts during the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held online in Hanoi on 15 November 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

The overstatement of the RCEP

Chinese netizens and commentators have largely celebrated the RCEP as being China-led and a coup for China. Zhu Ying provides a reality check as to why the Chinese should instead have their feet firmly on the ground.
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.
Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping (back) outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

What has changed in China’s South China Sea policy under Xi Jinping?

Li Nan sees that China has been using more aggressive “defensive” strategies in the South China Sea (SCS) under Xi Jinping, which includes the building of several artificial islands and the consolidation of administrative control of Chinese possessions and claims in the SCS. While policy insiders in China often see these actions as defensive, those who have a stake in the SCS have cause to disagree.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on screens in the media center as he speaks at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, 4 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China’s true intentions in wanting to join the CPTPP

After years of being excluded from the TPP that later became the CPTPP, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently commented that China is “favourably considering” joining the CPTPP. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks at why China seems to be keen to hop on this bandwagon which was originally set up to target China.
Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong says that at this crucial juncture, there is a greater need for a close alignment of development strategies between China and Singapore, and to work together for the future. (Graphic: Jace Yip)

Chinese ambassador Hong Xiaoyong: New journey for China’s development; new opportunities for China-Singapore cooperation

China's next phase of development will focus on achieving high-quality development and building a modern socialist country, says China's ambassador to Singapore, Hong Xiaoyong. Much attention will be paid to fostering innovation and green growth, and in pursuing a coordinated approach in building prosperity for the Chinese people. China will also continue to engage the world through its dual circulation strategy, turning the China market into a market accessible to all. In these efforts, there are many opportunities for Singapore and China to work together, building on their years of cooperation and synergies. Ambassador Hong wrote this article in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Singapore.
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"?
China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100-yuan banknotes in this illustration picture taken 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/REUTERS)

Will China's digital currency accelerate the internationalisation of the RMB?

Some are of the opinion that an e-RMB will encourage the internationalisation of the RMB as a major global currency. NUS academic Duan Jin-Chuan argues that whether the RMB is digitalised or not is not the key issue; internationalisation of the RMB really depends on demand for and attractiveness of the RMB as a trading and value storage tool.
A screen grab taken from Vietnam Host Broadcaster's 15 November 2020 live video shows China's Premier Li Keqiang (L) clapping as Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (R) holds up the agreement during the signing ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact at the ASEAN summit that is being held online in Hanoi. (Handout/Vietnam host broadcaster/AFP)

RCEP affirms ASEAN’s irreplaceable East Asian centrality

The signing of the 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is significant, and not only due to the fact that the trade deal will cover a third of the world’s population and GDP. The RCEP also affirms the power of the East Asia concept and ASEAN’s centrality within it.
A family wearing face masks walks outside a shopping mall in Beijing on 11 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Chinese housewives: The driving force behind China's e-commerce platforms

China has its army of housewives to thank for its early and deep foothold in e-commerce. The theory goes that with more time on their hands and being fiercely price-conscious, these housewives will never fail to take advantage of discounts for online shopping, and even more importantly, spread the word and get others to do the same.