Economics professor Zhu Ying observes that since US-China relations reached their high point after former President Trump's visit to Beijing in 2017, China-US relations have seen three splits, each driven by the trade war, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine respectively. Amid tense relations and set identities that have been formed, one can only hope that the US and China do not stumble into a hot war.
NUS academic Lu Xi notes that following the Russia-Ukraine war, the world will possibly be divided by political ethics, specifically between the idealists and realists who respectively believe in the rule of law and the law of the jungle. In this hypothetical scenario, will small states be able to stay neutral without taking sides? How will they navigate between the big powers and maintain their own national interests?
Chinese concept stocks plunged after the US Securities and Exchange Commissions’ recent announcement that another five US-listed Chinese companies might be delisted for non-compliance with US regulations. Although there was a rebound after Vice-Premier Liu He’s reassurance that China will implement policies to stabilise the stock market and support overseas listings, Chinese companies looking to raise capital abroad will still have to deal with two sets of inherently contradictory regulations from the US and China.
A study has shown that if China joins the CPTPP, global income gains from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will quadruple to US$632 billion annually. With an eye to the economic benefits, a majority of Southeast Asians view China's membership of the CPTPP positively, the 2022 State of Southeast Asia survey report finds. ISEAS researcher Sithanonxay Suvannaphakdy further notes that Chinese membership of the CPTPP will help to ease China-US trade tensions. However, there are concerns about China's ability to abide by the rules of the CPTPP.
While the US and Japan would like TSMC to "spread the risk" of global tech supply chains being hit in the event of cross-strait tensions, TSMC is quite firm on keeping its advanced technologies in Taiwan while going through the motions of setting up some overseas outposts as recommended by its allies. It is well aware of its strategic value and will want to hold on to its upper hand.
Claims that financial decoupling will occur between China and the US are not yet evident from the trade data, says NUS academic Christopher J. Voisey. In 2020, FDI inflows in China increased by 6% and the ease of doing business improved. And while there have been greater hurdles for Chinese companies seeking US listings, their stocks are often still available to foreign investors through alternative channels. Might some turbulence be par for the course as China seeks stronger autonomy and economic power?
Chen Gang sees that rather than an end in itself, climate change can be a springboard for China and the US to deepen cooperation in other areas. This is by virtue of the fact that climate change is often intertwined with issues relating to the economy, trade and foreign policy. Facets of climate change cooperation will have spillover effects that could lead to tariff reductions, investments and greater technology collaborations.
Some analyses have sounded the alarm of China lurching to the left in a marked return to Maoism. On closer examination, says Loro Horta, China’s recent clampdowns on capital are rational and not exactly ideologically driven. Issues facing China, such as the need to tackle rising inequality, affect the ruling party’s legitimacy and longevity. These concerns may have a strong push effect on the authorities. In fact, rather than a reversion to Maoism, the Xi government seems to be embracing Confucianism as a basis to enforce social order and norms, just as it derides “evil fan culture” as a means to keep a tight rein on social control.
High-level trade and foreign policy officials from the US and China have articulated their views recently on implementing the phase one trade deal and hopes for cooperation amid a state of strategic competition. Will more of such sessions help to chip away at the great wall of mistrust that has been built between the US and China?