Security

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 7 December 2022. (Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Not just the economy: China's growing cyberspace influence in the Middle East

While China-Middle East cooperation is predicated on strong energy cooperation, other facets will come to the fore as regional geopolitical balancing intensifies. Technology transfer and imparting values for cyberspace are just a few key influences that China hopes to assert in the region. However, an imperative remains that the Gulf looks to the West for its security needs.
Members of Taiwan's armed forces participate in a two-day routine drill to show combat readiness, at a military base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 12 January 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Living in the dragon’s shadow: Taiwan’s identity dilemma and a view from Southeast Asia

Worsening cross-strait relations in recent times have generated anxiety about imminent conflict across the Taiwan Straits. During a three-month stint in Taiwan as the recipient of a Taiwan fellowship, RSIS academic Benjamin Ho observed that what is at stake for Taipei is not so much the threat from China per se but how domestic cleavages relating to Taiwan’s political identity complicate efforts to arrive at a modus vivendi with Beijing.
Taiwan's armed forces hold two days of routine drills to show combat readiness ahead of Lunar New Year holidays at a military base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 11 January 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

What could stir up trouble in the Taiwan Strait in 2023?

Lianhe Zaobao journalist Miao Zong-Han notes that tensions in the Taiwan Strait last year reached an all-time high amid the visit by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the subsequent military exercise around Taiwan by the People’s Liberation Army. In the upcoming year, mainland China’s policies towards Taiwan, the US factor, along with the campaign for Taiwan’s presidential elections are key variables that could affect cross-strait relations and are worth keeping tabs on.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. review the honour guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 4 January 2023. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Between economy and security: Does the Philippines' Marcos Jr have a choice?

While Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s 3-5 Jan visit to Beijing reaped economic opportunities, it was also a missed opportunity to leverage the 2016 arbitral award, says Philippine academic Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby. The onus rests on the Philippines to keep the West Philippine Sea on the agenda, and there are several steps the Marcos administration should keep in mind in doing so.
Fiji's new prime minister and People's Alliance Party leader Sitiveni Rabuka (centre) leaves after the first sittings of the newly elected parliament in Fiji's capital city Suva on 24 December 2022. (Leon Lord/AFP)

Fiji an important regional power broker as great power politics intensifies in the Pacific

The recent elections in Fiji resulted in the first democratic transition since 2014 after three opposition parties narrowly voted for a pro–Western coalition government with Sitiveni Rabuka as the new prime minister. The election outcome also has geopolitical implications considering the growing US-China confrontation in the Pacific and the renewed US re-engagement in the South Pacific with a focus on Fiji.
The ZTE logo and a sign for 5G are seen at the World 5G Exhibition in Beijing, China, 22 November 2019. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

US sanctions forcing Chinese firms to switch to made-in-China tech

According to a development plan for China’s software and information technology (IT) service industry from 2021 to 2025, China is expected to significantly expand its capacity for developing key software and build two to three open-source communities with international influence by 2025. Meanwhile, China’s giant state-owned enterprises are also rushing to crank up domestic purchases of innovative IT applications under government pressure.
People wearing face masks pose for photos with a Chinese national flag at a park in Shanghai, China, 12 December 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

US allies want good relations with China too

US academic Zhu Zhiqun notes that the US is still trying to exert pressure on its allies to follow its moves to suppress China. However, China is the largest trading partner of over 120 countries. These countries will never forsake their cooperation with China to accommodate the US. In fact, the trend of countries actively developing economic and trade relations with China while maintaining a security partnership with the US looks set to stay.
Despite impact of US chip controls on China, China’s role in the global electronics sector, and the emerging technology stacks built upon it, will not be easily crippled. (Pixabay)

Will US chip controls work on China?

Analyst John Lee assesses the impact of US chip controls on China, pointing out the little likelihood of complete decoupling, especially in areas out of high-end chips. Despite the restrictions, China has options of its own but the tides could change at any minute in this “competition to win the 21st century”.
The logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is pictured at its headquarters, in Hsinchu, Taiwan, 19 January 2021. (Ann Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

Can Taiwan hold on to its lead in chip manufacturing?

Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is booming, but its pole position is at risk. With the industry deemed of national security concern, China, the US and the EU are implementing restrictive measures, upping their investment and aiming for autonomy and self-sufficiency in the sector, which could cause Taiwan to lose its competitive edge.