Amid adjustments as China and the US size each other up anew and recalibrate their relationship, the international community needs to be prepared for the uncertainties an increasingly insecure America and a more confident China may bring to the world. Professor Zhu Zhiqun of Bucknell University in the US opines that it is entirely possible for America’s declining confidence vis-à-vis China to be based on its exaggerated assessment of China’s influence, while China’s growing confidence is built upon an inflation of China’s real power.
Despite China identifying itself as a developing country at the WTO, it has been viewed in several quarters as one of the top countries in the world in terms of its economy and national strength. Economics professor Zhu Ying asks: is it any surprise that the US has never recognised China as a developing country?
Han Yong Hong opines that viewed through the lens of the coronavirus outbreak, two views come into focus about China’s prospects of emerging weaker or stronger from the crisis. But whether it is one or the other, it is the innocent members of the public who are hurt, and especially the 2000 over people who have paid the price of this calamity with their lives. No amount of economic progress will be able to compensate for the pain they have endured.
Senior research fellow Chen Gang says that the Covid-19 outbreak has led the Chinese government to announce that it is facing “wartime conditions” and will be imposing a system of political, economic, social management for extreme circumstances. The world is also taking preventive measures. Such a scenario sees China entering a “pre-decoupling stage” where its resilience and self-reliance will be severely tested.
Two months from the onset of Covid-19 and the ensuing gridlock, global supply chains have been disrupted, travel plans have been derailed while oil prices continue to plummet. Chen Jibing lays bare the crippling effects that the coronavirus outbreak has and will have on the global economy. In part two of the report, Chen analyses the volatility of the commodities markets, the impact on China’s ability to implement the US-China phase one trade agreement, and the implications for global economic growth in 2020.
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.
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.
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.