Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao shows us the scenes of times past of Vietnam’s imperial city of Hue. From the architecture influenced by China, to the struggles within, the four walls of the Citadel are brimming with history.
China is exerting its growing strength and influence in various areas including trade, technology, politics and the military, which undoubtedly has an impact on other countries. Larger countries such as India, Japan, South Korea and of course the US are banding together in order to not be caught up in this wave; but how are other countries such as the ASEAN member states navigating the geopolitics in the region?
Comments by Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi recently to Japanese and South Korean guests at a forum that they could never be a Westerner, and encouraging greater China-Japan-South Korean cooperation have ignited some backlash in Japan. Academic Shin Kawashima says that it would be almost unthinkable for Japan and South Korea to respond to such a call from China.
Along with the rise in Chinese students in Thailand, there have been discussions regarding the takeover of private universities by Chinese investors since 2019. The authorities need to put measures in place to ensure that standards are maintained.
New migrants from China refer to the wave of skilled and urban migrants from China who ventured to Asia and elsewhere after the reform era began in the 1980s. Since the 2000s, many have been moving into Southeast Asia. In Thailand, their number has doubled in the last two decades. These migrants are there for business, study and leisure or a combination of these pursuits. In the process, new communities such as Huai Khwang, the "new Chinatown" in Bangkok, have emerged.
ISEAS academic Nick Freeman says that Laos’ first major railway, inaugurated on 3 December 2021, will create a new link with the Chinese market and has the potential to be a game changer for the Lao economy. This comes at a good time, as Laos seeks post-pandemic recovery in 2022. But the opening of the railway alone does not guarantee such a prospect. While the railway might boost industries such as tourism and exports, leading to a shift away from traditional sectors such as power generation and mineral mining, Laos needs to develop economic "muscle tissue" to ensure that the potential of the railway is translated into tangible results through investing in both hard and soft infrastructure.
Analyst Zheng Weibin says that the establishment of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, with “Taiwan” rather than “Taipei” in its name, should not be looked upon by Beijing merely as Taiwan gaining diplomatic space. China needs to understand better the dynamics underpinning China’s relations with Europe and the shifts in the EU's foreign policy strategy. Taking a heavy-handed approach is likely to be counterproductive for the Asian giant.
Universal Studios Beijing opened to much publicity, with tickets being snapped up in just one minute. But some detractors question if this is exactly the sort of imperialism that China has grown out of and it should be developing its own mega attractions with Chinese elements. Would doing so simply entail rejecting Western influences? How can it develop a concept that truly reflects a flavour of China or its popular culture?
Zhang Rui analyses that there are more pros than cons to China’s entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) whether one looks at it from China’s individual economy, regional industrial chains or global income gains. However, sizeable obstacles stand in the way of its entry, not least US-led political roadblocks, even if the latter is not currently a member of the reconfigured CPTPP. China’s internal system and regulations will also have to change to meet the rigours of the high-standard CPTPP. Can China play the long game and will the world truly move closer towards Asia-Pacific economic integration?