As Southeast Asian countries look for Covid-19 vaccines to protect their populations, two things matter: reliability and availability. For now, China — rather than Western sources — ticks the correct boxes.
Amid the effects of the China-US trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, global manufacturers are seeing the need to adopt a ”China+1“ strategy by diversifying their supply chains or business operations beyond China. However, moving parts of the supply chain to the Southeast Asian region is not so straightforward. What challenges do they face and how are they overcoming them? Will China's position as the "world's factory" be shaken and how will its economic model be changed?
When China’s “dual circulation” strategy was launched last year, some analysts interpreted it to mean that China would be focusing more on its domestic market. Figures show otherwise. Studying trade and investment indicators over the past few months, Chen Gang concludes that China’s economic engagement with the world is increasing as it runs on dual domestic and external engines.
China was at the centre of discussions in the recently concluded G7 summit in Cornwall. While the US is corralling its allies to take a harder stance on China on various issues, a lot of this is all talk and it will be hard in reality to agree on and implement such plans, says Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan. On its part, China is focusing on increasing its national strength to meet the challenge.
As art historian Chiang Hsun recites the Diamond Sutra and prays for the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, he believes in the adage that "this too shall pass". In tough times, we must remind ourselves to be grateful for the breath of life and to be kind to one another. May humankind be safe and well in their warm homes, wherever they may be.
Andrew Delios, vice dean of the Master of Science Programmes Office at the National University of Singapore, observes that media reports have often cast a suspicious eye on China’s actions, even those that deserve to be celebrated such as the development of the Sinovac vaccine. Imbalanced and agenda-driven reports will only lead to greater distrust and suspicion among countries, just when the world needs to work together on constructive solutions.
Amrita Jash considers the impact of a devastating second wave of Covid-19 on India’s foreign policy and its relationships with the region and the world. She observes that India will continue to take a collective approach to fighting the pandemic as it guards its flanks vis-à-vis China and Pakistan and builds closer ties with the US and fellow members of the Quad.
Negotiations on the investment agreement between the EU and China were concluded at the end of last year but the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to freeze any consideration or discussion of the agreement. This was following retaliatory sanctions from China after the EU's round of Xinjiang-related sanctions. NUS academic Cai Daolu sees the suspension as a economic and trade relationship hiccup in the short run. But if prolonged, it would turn into a missed opportunity, not just for EU and China, but for the global economy as well.