Hard power

Paramilitary police stand guard as people gather to celebrate the arrival of the New Year near the Bund in Shanghai, China, 31 December 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Covid-19 will be overcome, but can China and the US avoid the risk of war and conflict?

US-based researcher Wei Da feels that both China and the US need to make significant adjustments in their relations with each other, or else the scenario of a new Cold War and a real threat of hot war will not be far off. Who needs to understand that the world is different now, and adjustments have to be made? And who is the more backward party that has to adjust more?
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

Indo-Pacific: The central theatre of 21st century great power struggle

ISEAS academic Daljit Singh notes that the new great power contest has spilled over into the Indian Ocean, and the term “Indo-Pacific” will better reflect the strategic geography of this central theatre of the 21st century great power struggle.
This photo taken on 4 January 2021 shows Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers assembling during military training at Pamir Mountains in Kashgar, northwestern China's Xinjiang region. (STR/AFP)

Japanese academic: China needs to show more self-restraint in PLA's military activities

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has ramped up its military activities in the South China Sea, East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan in the year 2020. Japanese academic Sugiura Yasuyuki believes that such actions will continue to escalate this coming year. He thinks China needs to exercise some restraint to avoid destabilising the status quo in the East Asia region.
A button featuring President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inauguration is on display by a street vendor in Eatonton, Georgia, 2 January 2021. (Alex Wong/AFP)

Japanese academic: The Chinese and Japanese differ in their perceptions of Biden's China policy

With US President-elect Joe Biden poised to take office in a week, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima compares how China and Japan view the incoming administration, and how their differing views may impact on foreign relations and geopolitics.
A Chinese flag is seen at the landing site of the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China indeed the biggest threat to the US?

Over the past few years, and especially in the past few months, the US has been painting China as its biggest threat and even enemy. Are these claims valid or exaggerated? What does it mean for the incoming Biden administration, and will it be able to improve China-US relations? Economics professor Zhu Ying explores the topic.
Paramilitary police officers wearing face masks patrol on a street in Beijing on 13 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China's wolf-warrior tactics confusing, misleading and unprofessional

When it would have been advantageous to watch and wait while the US leadership transition is carried out, China has decided to up the ante with a high-profile show of wolf-warrior diplomacy. Is it setting itself up for a boomerang effect?
Students display their paper cutting portraits of the late former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong ahead of his 127th birthday which falls on 26 December, in Lianyungang in eastern China's Jiangsu province on 23 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Multilateralism will work only if nations share the same values

Values underpin multilateral cooperation, asserts economics professor Zhu Ying. The Chinese case is no exception. Their international engagement has been driven by values, whether in the early period of “leaning to one side” and becoming an ally of the Soviet Union, or the present “multilateralism with Chinese characteristics” held up by mechanisms such as the BRI. Question is, what incentive does the international community have to meet them halfway?
People wearing face masks walk along a street during a rush hour in Bejing on 16 December 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Chinese academic: How the West's perception of China plummeted in 2020

Even as 2020 will go down in history as the year of the coronavirus, economics professor Zhu Ying notes that it also marks a shift in how Western countries view China — and not in a good way.
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.