South China Sea

This screen grab made from a video released by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows the launch ceremony of the Fujian, a People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft carrier, at a shipyard in Shanghai, China, on 17 June 2022. (CCTV/AFP)

China’s third aircraft carrier: No need to panic just yet

China’s third aircraft carrier is not yet nuclear-powered and won’t be battle-ready for some years yet. Besides, in terms of possible warfare, it’s the numerous surface combatants China possesses that the US should be worried about, says Loro Horta. But with every iteration of China’s aircraft carrier, its ambitions of eventually taking on the US in the open Pacific is increasingly clear.
China's State Councilor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe walks to attend a bilateral meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, 10 June 2022. (Caroline Chia/Reuters)

Framing China’s actions: From ‘assertive’ to ‘aggressive’

US-led Western rhetoric has not been friendly to China, with “assertive” being the operative word. However, at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, that term was “upgraded” to “aggressive”, prompting a strong response from China. Is this portrayal deserved and are tensions likely to persist in the region? What should the ASEAN countries’ response be?
People cycle on a road at the central business district in Beijing, China, 16 May 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Xi’s Global Security Initiative: In pursuit of China’s own interests and ambitions

Indian academic Amrita Jash believes that China’s proposal of the Global Security Initiative was made primarily out of its own interests and the world is left no more convinced that it can be a responsible stakeholder in the international system.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (on screen) addresses participants at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit virtually via a video link in Singapore on 11 June 2022. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Shangri-La Dialogue 2022: The paradox of peace and power

The duel between the ‘rule of law’ and the ‘right of might’ took centre-stage as the Shangri-La Dialogue resumed under the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Southeast Asian countries found it a hard sell to promote cooperative security and ASEAN’s broad-based mechanisms against tough talk by representatives of the major powers.
China’s General Wei Fenghe and his delegates arrive at Dutch Pavilion at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, for a meeting with his counterparts from the US. (SPH Media)

Shangri-La Dialogue 2022: A tougher diplomatic battle for China?

Given the tough stand of Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe at the previous Shangri-La Dialogue in 2019, and the current tense relations between China and the US, this week’s Shangri-La Dialogue is set to offer some sparks. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong examines some points of contention and what previous rhetoric suggests.
US President Joe Biden participates in the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the US State Department in Washington, DC, US, on 13 May 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

Finland and Sweden today, Southeast Asia tomorrow?

With Finland and Sweden applying to join NATO, some in Asia are asking if Southeast Asian countries will follow suit and seek an alliance with “like-minded” powers. Malaysian academics Kuik Cheng-Chwee, Abdul Razak Ahmad and Lai Yew Meng explain why such realignment is unlikely in Asia (for now).
Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida welcomes US President Joe Biden at the entrance hall of the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Zhang Xiaoyu/Pool via Reuters)

Biden’s Asia tour: US deepening its commitments to counter China

US President Joe Biden's recent visit to Asia was made with China in mind, as he met with Quad partners South Korea, Japan, Australia and India, and launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). At the very least, says Japanese academic Ryo Sahashi, the visit signals that the US is keen on setting the rules in the region and keeping a firm security presence especially vis-à-vis the Taiwan Strait.
Soldiers of People's Liberation Army (PLA) are seen before a giant screen as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, China, 1 October 2019. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Global Security Initiative — China’s solution to international security?

At the Boao Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forth the Global Security Initiative which has the concept of “indivisible security” at its core. Is this China’s answer to breaking up “small cliques” in international relations and seeking to build a community of common destiny for mankind?
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, alongside Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, waves as the two board the plane to Japan to attend the Quad leaders meeting in Tokyo, in Canberra, Australia, 23 May 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch via Reuters)

Don’t expect a reset in Australia-China relations anytime soon

While the Scott Morrison government has bowed out to a new team from the Labor Party following the elections, it will be hard to change the downward trajectory of Australia-China relations. This is in large part due to the strength of Australia’s alliance with the US, says Associate Professor Yuan Jingdong of the University of Sydney.