Although Russia has been increasing its defence diplomacy activities in Southeast Asia, its military cooperation with the region remains overwhelmingly focused on arms sales. However, Russia is at risk of losing its position as the number one arms seller to Southeast Asia due to increased competition from American, European and Asian defence companies. Besides, Russian navy port calls to Southeast Asia and combined military exercises in the region are infrequent and small-scale compared to those of the US and China. ISEAS academic Ian Storey examines how Russia might expand its influence.
Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.
Social media movements such as the Milk Tea Alliance are tapping into discontent with the regional decline of democracy and fears about the rise of China as a hegemonic power. ISEAS visiting fellow Quinton Temby explains why anti-China sentiments are gaining traction and how it is affecting local politics.
As the Myanmar coup continues, researcher Hein Khaing traces the steady but relentless progression of how the situation has resulted in increasing hatred towards China and both tangible and intangible losses suffered.
Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing notes that mainland Chinese companies in Hong Kong, Yangon and elsewhere often find themselves targets of attack. Why are they so unpopular in the very communities they seek to bring greater economic activity to? Perhaps they are expanding too much, too soon and too fast, giving little opportunities for locals to adapt. But their work cultures probably also play a big role.
Thinking along the lines of moral realism, a concept espoused by Professor Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China can enhance its international esteem by establishing its moral and strategic credibility on the Myanmar issue, says Professor He Baogang.
It is no longer an unqualified truism that China is a vast land of abundant resources, says Chen Hongbin. While it is rich in minerals such as rare earths, it is one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas, oil and iron ore, and is paying through its nose in some cases to reach a level of sufficiency. How can China achieve greater energy security?
While China has refuted rumours that it was involved in the Myanmar coup, the people of Myanmar are not convinced. Researcher Hein Khaing says instead of blaming the Myanmar people for being gullible and asking them to be more discerning about what they see and hear, the Chinese need to understand why negative rumours about China are so easily presumed true in Myanmar. Not only that, but the coup has also changed the Myanmar Chinese community's sentiments about their relationship with their ancestral land.
Contrary to speculation that China may have abetted or has much to gain from the situation in Myanmar, Hong Kong academic Enze Han says that it is actually the party with the most to lose. Moreover, any playing up of a great power tussle between the US and China only hurts Myanmar in the long run.