Congolese cheer ahead of Pope Francis's arrival at Martyrs' Stadium in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on 2 February 2023. The competition between China and the US in the DRC is intensifying. (Tiziana Fabi/AFP)

Is the US subverting China's influence in the DRC?

In the battle for resources in the clean energy race, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) stands as a critical piece of the puzzle, holding access to key metals such as cobalt, lithium, copper and coltan. While China has been an early dominant investor, the US is upping the stakes and seeking to throw the competition wide open.
Boys run past a mural by Senzart911, of children wearing facemasks amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, at Soweto's Kliptown, South Africa, 27 October 2021. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Chinese investments in Africa moving into new areas amid return of the West

After 20 years of rapid growth fuelled by Chinese investments, Africa-China ties stand at an inflection point, with some African countries wary of the pitfalls of collaboration and other challengers seeking to dominate the region. Will China’s Africa-China relations reach new highs after this fork in the road?
A general view of the Chinese mining company COMMUS (Musonoïe Mining Company Global SAS), downtown Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 13 October 2022. (Junior Kannah/AFP)

China’s hunt for strategic new energy minerals

China lacks sufficient reserves of strategic minerals. The country's strategic mineral reserves, including iron, copper, aluminum, nickel and lithium, equals less than 20% of the world’s total, while the country accounts for more than half of global consumption of cobalt, aluminum and copper. What are China's options?
People walk in Kimironko Market in Kigali, Rwanda on 26 June 2022. (SPH Media)

Small nations' survival strategy for a world in flux: Lessons from Rwanda and Timor-Leste

Lim Jim Koon, former editor-in-chief of Chinese Media Group, SPH Media, looks at the current world in flux and its focus on great power rivalry. He reminds us that small nations have their place in this world too and their survival and growth must not be lightly brushed aside. Rwanda and Timor-Leste may not be countries in the spotlight, but these are small nations with tenacity, sharing common interests and goals with Singapore.
A man walks past a mural on a street in Beijing, China, on 28 September 2022. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Being black in China: Loving something that doesn't always love you back

A young black American who has just finished his master’s in Beijing gives a first-hand account of being viewed as the Other in China. Despite some negative encounters, the conversations he has had in the local language and the friendships he has forged have made the experience all worthwhile.
(Left to right) Tunisia's President Kais Saied, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, and United Nations' Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohamed applaud during a press conference after the closing session of the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Tunisia's capital Tunis on 28 August 2022. (Fethi Belaid/AFP)

TICAD8: Can Japan exert its influence in Africa amid great power politics?

Japanese academic Mitsugi Endo gives his assessment of the recent Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) in Tunisia. While it was announced that Japan's public and private sectors combined would make investments in Africa amounting to US$30 billion over the next three years, the impact of great power politics in Africa, including by players such as China and Russia, may have an impact on Japan's future engagement with the continent.
People in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 August 2022. (Andrew Harnik/Pool via Reuters)

How Japan can be a part of Africa's development amid great power competition

Tunisia will host the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) on 27-28 August, during which various topics will come under discussion. How can Japan set itself apart from other powers such as China who are aggressively supporting Africa's development?
A general view of the city skyline in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2 February 2021. (Lim Huey Teng/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s divided image in Malaysia

In a recent poll conducted by Malaysia’s Merdeka Center and the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, public perception of China seems to have improved slightly from the last time a similar survey was done in 2016. That said, opinions are divided among ethnic groups and hinge on a few deciding factors.
People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea's armed forces after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry, Guinea, 5 September 2021. (Cellou Binani/AFP)

Guinea coup: Why did non-interventionist China speak up?

Many were caught off-guard when China made forceful statements against the military coup in Guinea. Hasn't China always been circumspect and asked countries to resolve their internal issues well in past such cases? Perhaps Guinea being China’s leading source of bauxite for its aluminum industry is a key motivation. Or perhaps it is a case of finally feeling the need to step up to a greater international role? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.