Security

Admiral Philip S. Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command meets with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during his courtesy call at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, 22 October 2020. (Kyodo via REUTERS)

A leaders' word game: 'Secure and prosperous' vs 'free and open' Indo-Pacific

With the incoming Biden administration using the term "secure and prosperous" in place of "free and open" to refer to the Indo-Pacific, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima explores what this might mean for the future of the region and the roles played by Japan, China, and the US.
Chinese and US flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, 18 January 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

'Relying on the US for security and China for economic benefits is absurd'

From China’s perspective, Australia has been trying to have its cake and eat it too by seeking to rely on the US for security and China for economic benefits. If recent frictions are anything to go by, this balancing act is fraught with contradictions. Will Australia and other countries start to see that the Asia-Pacific’s interests are best served by both China and the US having a stake in the security and economic well-being of the region?
A protester takes a moment while speaking to the crowd as they march through Hollywood during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody, in Los Angeles, California, June 2, 2020. - Anti-racism protests have put several US cities under curfew to suppress rioting, following the death of George Floyd in police custody. (Kyle Grillot/AFP)

Japanese academic: If US diplomacy lacks a strong base, how can it demonstrate true leadership?

Japanese academic Sahashi Ryo notes that with Biden taking office, the US needs to look at the changing needs of diplomacy and rebuild international relationships, and figure out how to negotiate its ties with China.
A robotic dog powered by Huawei Cloud is seen at a booth during Huawei Connect in Shanghai, China, 23 September 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's whole-of-nation push for technological innovation

Innovation features prominently in the proposals for China's 14th Five-Year Plan. Apart from building up long-term resources such as education and basic scientific research, much government weight will be thrown behind building self-reliance in core technologies, including in the semiconductor industry, says Erik Baark and Qian Jiwei.
US President-elect Joe Biden gestures to the crowd after he delivered remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on 7 November 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

Has Biden bared his fangs at China?

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga may have stolen a march on China by making an early move to secure President-elect Joe Biden’s support for any attack on the Senkaku islands or what the Chinese call Diaoyu islands. Even before he enters the White House, Biden seems comfortable reassuring Japan of America’s intention to uphold their commitments under the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. Will this make China more defensive on the one hand, and more eager to court Biden on the other?
This photo taken on 24 September 2020 shows workers setting up national flags along a street ahead of the upcoming National Day in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. (STR/AFP)

China's next Five-Year Plan focuses on security, stability and quality of development; adopts a more subdued tone

Amid the pandemic, US elections and intensifying geopolitical tensions around the globe, China’s recently-released communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drew much attention. What does this 14th Five-Year Plan say about China’s development trajectory and its focus for the next five years? How has it changed given the new global situation? EAI academic Qi Dongtao dissects the document.
Ethnic Uighur demonstrators take part in a protest against China and its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, in Istanbul, Turkey, 1 October 2020. (Murad Sezer/REUTERS)

How terrorism against China in the Middle East could develop

In a recent study conducted by the Central European Institute of Asian Studies and the National University of Singapore Business School, four key scenarios were plotted out with regards to possible terrorism-related threats against China in the Middle East. The findings show that China’s level of investment in the region as well as the stability of local regimes will play deciding roles in determining the severity of the threat. What policy options does China have? Barbara Kelemen and Alex Fergnani have the details.
A visitor holds a Chinese flag while posing for a photograph at the Badaling section of the Great Wall in Beijing, China, on 1 October 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

China feels maligned

China laments that it has not done anything wrong, amid the slew of bad reactions it has been getting internationally. Han Yong Hong points out while negative perceptions of China by major countries of the world are at an all-time high, this is not solely to do with strains in the US-China relationship. Individual countries have their beef with China for a host of reasons. When everything is all said and done, communication is still key, and China has just as much responsibility as everyone else to make the effort to bridge the gap.
This photo taken on 26 September 2020 shows first-year students holding a Chinese flag during a commencement ceremony at Wuhan University in Wuhan, Hubei, China. (STR/AFP)

Geopolitics is the biggest threat to China-US relations, not trade or tech wars

Contrary to doomsday predictions, the US-China trade and tech relationship is actually rather sturdy. After all, it was their economic and trade complementarity that brought them finally to agree on a phase one trade deal, and against all odds, US direct investments into China grew by 6% (from a year earlier) in the first half of the year. Geopolitics and volatile brinkmanship in the name of power relations could instead be the greater threat. But between Trump and Biden, which is the lesser evil?