Peking University PhD student Xiong Lan believes that as US-China tensions ratchet up from competition to confrontation, it is likely that the process of internationalising the renminbi (RMB) will be accelerated. The next ten years will be crucial, if China is to reach targets such as for the RMB to exceed 10% market share of international currencies by 2029 and account for 30% of global reserves in the long run. What obstacles stand in the way?
High-speed rail and other infrastructure development have been proceeding apace under China’s Western Region Development Strategy. However, in trying to catch up with the eastern region, the gap between provinces in the western region may have inadvertently been widened. Without an effective division of labour, wasted resources and unnecessary competition are likely.
Whether the Communist Party of China will escape the fate of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union depends greatly on the extent to which it has rooted out the six major ills that plagued the Soviet system. Only then can it rise smoothly and peacefully to the benefit of the world.
Portugal has in the past decade developed very lucrative relations with China. Chinese investment significantly assisted its recovery from the 2008 global economic crisis. However, Lisbon’s increasingly close ties with Beijing have raised serious concerns in Washington.
China has sought to rectify the imbalance in east-west regional development by improving connectivity and accelerating infrastructure-building in the western provinces through the Western Region Land-Sea Corridor and BRI projects. How successful they will be depends largely on continued capital injections, the region’s greater opening up and good cooperation with China’s neighbouring countries.
There is bipartisan support under the Biden administration to compete with and confront China, reflecting the American desire to maintain its dominant position in the international system. However, the US’s ability to act as a reliable security partner is heavily constrained by its domestic political paralysis caused by ideological divisions as well as social and economic upheavals. And while Southeast Asian countries want the US to remain militarily and economically engaged in the region to act as a counterweight to China, they do not want to take sides between the two superpowers. Canadian academic Shaun Narine believes this may be an increasingly difficult balance as US-China rivalry intensifies.
A metaphor used by playwright Kuo Pao Kun and recently mentioned by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong says that different cultural communities are trees in the forest, each separated at the trunk, but nourished by the same soil and cross-pollinating high in the sky at the leaves and branches. Low Sze Wee, CEO of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, extends the metaphor, noting that Chinese Singaporeans have developed distinct cultural identities from Chinese elsewhere. Their way of life is a combination of what they brought with them, their interactions with others, and the policies they live under with their fellow citizens.
While the US frames the China threat as a fight between democracy and autocracy, the Chinese see the competition between them about governance, not ideology. As the US’s internal problems escalate, China feels the former is no longer in a position to lecture it. In the midst of the US distracting itself from real troubles on the one hand and China’s inflated confidence on the other, US-China relations may be troubled for some time yet.
China and Myanmar are said to have a “pauk-phaw” or sibling relationship. Many people in Myanmar, however, are clear-eyed about the limits of the bond. Who are the true beneficiaries of Chinese investment in Myanmar? Why are the people protesting while the higher-ups eagerly sign huge contracts with China and other countries?