China-US trade war

Pedestrians wearing protective masks to help stop the spread of Covid-19, walk on a street in Tokyo's Ginza area on 25 January 2020. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

In sickness and in health: Honeymoon period for China-Japan relations?

China-Japan relations have never been better in recent years. Chinese commentators have praised Japan’s elegant gestures like sending medical supplies signed off with ancient verses such as “山川异域,风月同天” (roughly: different lands, same sky). China-Japan watchers say this bodes well ahead of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan in April. But whether this goodwill will last, is quite another matter.
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pose for a group photo during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat in Nha Trang on January 17, 2020. ASEAN has to find a way to navigate the US-China trade war. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

ASEAN 2020: How to swim in the choppy waters of the US-China conflict

Mie Oba, Professor, Tokyo University of Science, suggests that rather than just being the grass that suffers when elephants fight, ASEAN’s approach and response to moves by the US and China will determine its future.
In America, the spat was just an economic and trade issue; it is a very different picture for China. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Why would China agree to such a “one-sided” deal?

US-based expert Wei Da says the recently concluded phase one trade agreement shows that China may have ended up being called to heel by the US. Faced with a list of demands that it needs to fulfil, China should be reminded that its giant market is not everything. It will need to make fundamental improvements before it dares to believe that it is soon catching up to the US.
US President Donald Trump applauds as Liu He, China's vice premier, speaks during a signing ceremony for the US-China phase-one trade agreement in Washington on 15 January 2020. (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

Phase one trade deal a humiliation to China?

Yu Zeyuan says it would be quite wrong to think that China stands on the losing end of the recently concluded phase one Economic and Trade Agreement between the US and China. The picture may be quite the opposite.
US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signs phase one of the US-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington on 15 January 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

China held its own in phase one trade deal?

Chinese observer Zhang Jingwei says China held its own in sealing phase one of the US-China trade deal. But this is just a prelude to the second act as the US heads further into its election year.
The typical person is irrational, rapacious and does not abide by the law. While he keeps the interior of his apartment magnificent, he goes outside and leaves a shambolic mess without a sense of public order. (iStock)

The "hooligan middle class" will drag down China’s economic development

Prof Zheng Yongnian bemoans the “culturally-bereft” middle class in China, and labels them the “hooligan middle class”. He opines that the absence of a cultural middle class is the reason why China lacks originality in technology and innovation, why the intellectual community produces little useful knowledge, and why China has not been able to advance towards qualitative economic growth. He offers the solution.
Votes are split between China and the US if respondents have to choose between the two. (Reproduced by Jace Yip with permission from ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

ASEAN’s future: China or the US?

An online survey by the ASEAN Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute shows that Southeast Asian opinion leaders are split down the middle when it comes to strategic alignment with the US or China. But who says it has to be one or the other? With US involvement in the region on a lower ebb and wariness of China on the rise, players such as Japan and the EU are increasingly looked upon as attractive and reliable alternatives.
Mr Lee Kuan Yew left behind many incisive comments about China and the US. (SPH)

What would Lee Kuan Yew make of the China-US trade war?

Mr Lee Kuan Yew may have passed on, but his views survive. What might he have thought about the current China-US trade war? Zhu Ying looks at Mr Lee’s comments about China and the US for some clues.
China's Premier Li Keqiang (C) with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (R) and South Korean President (L) Moon Jae-in at the 8th trilateral leaders' meeting in Chengdu on 24 December 2019. (Wang Zhao/Pool/AFP)

[Outlook 2020] East Asian security in 2020: New year, old challenges

Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun assesses that the East Asian security outlook for 2020 is not very promising, given that overall security in the region has deteriorated on several fronts over the past year. He gives his take on key hotspots in the region — the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea, and the Taiwan Strait — and sums up major powers’ priorities in the region.