Europe

This photograph taken on 8 June 2021 shows a street vendor walking past narrow residential houses, known as "nha ong" in Vietnamese or "tube houses", in an urban area of Hanoi. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Vietnam needs to do more to reduce trade dependence on China

Vietnam’s trade deficit with China has grown rapidly since 2001, and its heavy dependence on Chinese intermediate and capital goods creates vulnerabilities in its entire production chain. Besides, China has a history of using trade as a weapon to punish countries with which it has disputes. To reduce its trade dependence on Beijing, Vietnam has signed a number of new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in recent years, but these efforts have not produced desired outcomes. Vietnam will need to increase the utilisation rate of these agreements and push forward economic and institutional reforms to strengthen its overall economic resilience.
This file photo taken on 31 May 2021 shows an employee of the semiconductor manufacturer Bosch working in a clean room during the preparations for the series production of semiconductor chips on innovative 300-millimetre wafers in Dresden, Germany. (Jens Schlueter/AFP)

Why no country can win the chip war

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on many industries, annual global semiconductor sales still increased by 10.8% in 2020 to reach US$464 billion. The current global semiconductor supply chain is highly internationalised. While it is dominated by a small number of countries and regions, none of them has full control over every segment in the supply chain and geopolitics can be a risk factor. While the US has imposed sanctions and trade restrictions on China to hinder its development in chip making, academic James Pang says that given the nature of the industry, the current status quo will be maintained for some time.
A train on the Trans-Eurasia Express under the China Railway Express, leaving a logistics centre in Chongqing, 27 July 2021. (CNS)

Can the West's infrastructure plans rival China's BRI?

Recently, the West has proposed infrastructure plans in developing countries in a clear bid to rival China’s BRI. Chinese academic Bu Shaoying thinks that while it may be difficult for the West to succeed in achieving their ambitious plans, China and the West should consider working together, and turn competition into a win-win situation.
A worker receives a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at the dining hall of a car parts factory in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on 4 August 2021. (STR/AFP)

Why China is determined to achieve 'zero-Covid'

Chinese society is facing the debate of whether to aim for "zero-Covid" or to "live with the virus", with its former health minister Gao Qiang and top infectious diseases expert Zhang Wenhong offering opposing views. While the West believes that the world needs to live with an endemic Covid-19, China is still adopting a zero-Covid stance. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk puts together the arguments and concludes that for China, the zero-Covid stance is here to stay. Why is China determined to achieve zero-Covid?
A tuktuk is parked at Camoes square in Lisbon on 14 July 2021. (Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP)

Washington threatening Portugal to choose between China and the US?

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.
F-35B Lightning II aircraft are seen on the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently moored at the port of Limassol, Cyprus, 1 July 2021. (Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters)

Will the UK's Royal Navy conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea?

As a British Carrier Strike Group heads towards Southeast Asia, speculation is rife that a Royal Navy warship will conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. A recent incident in the Black Sea may shorten the odds of that happening.
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, left, and U.S. President Joe Biden, right, react at the start of the U.S. Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 June 2021. (Peter Klaunzer/Swiss Federal Office of Foreign Affairs/Bloomberg)

Can Biden 'set up' the US and Russia against China?

Chinese academic Zhang Jingwei notes that the recent meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a step towards easing US-Russia relations. But fundamental tensions remain, not least due to NATO’s wariness of Russia and the US-China-Russia triangle.
Employees work on a production line manufacturing camera lenses for mobile phones at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, 30 April 2019. (China Daily via Reuters)

Suspension of China-EU investment deal: A hiccup in the short run but a major loss if prolonged

Negotiations on the investment agreement between the EU and China were concluded at the end of last year but the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to freeze any consideration or discussion of the agreement. This was following retaliatory sanctions from China after the EU's round of Xinjiang-related sanctions. NUS academic Cai Daolu sees the suspension as a economic and trade relationship hiccup in the short run. But if prolonged, it would turn into a missed opportunity, not just for EU and China, but for the global economy as well.
Customers drink on reopened cafe terraces on Saint Germain in Paris, France, on 19 May 2021. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Is the China-EU investment deal doomed?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was effectively frozen by the European Parliament last week, in consideration of China’s human rights issues in Xinjiang and its sanctions on individuals and organisations from the EU. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong asks: will this be the end of the deal, or is there still hope of a revival?