China-US relations

A government supporter wearing a protective mask holds Chinese and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) flags to celebrate the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, China, on 30 June 2020. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

There will be no peaceful rise — China-US relations enters a new phase

In a recent report outlining its approach to China, the US indicated that it will be guided by “principled realism” in strategic competition with China. Chinese academic Yu Zhi believes that this is a sign of the two countries moving into a “curtailment and containment” phase in their relations. Whoever the next President is, the US line on China looks set to hold. This stance harks back to the beginning of US-China relations, albeit with some adjustments. In any event, both countries are bracing themselves for a rough ride ahead.
People watch as fireworks are launched in Times Square as part of the annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks on 1 July 2020 in New York City. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFP)

A great America is in China's interest

Japan-based academic Zhang Yun says America's global strategy to create a unipolar order during the post-Cold War period is a mistake. But it does not mean that it has lost its window of “strategically opportune time” to be a great country. In asking "Who lost the US?" and "How America can truly be great again?", he comes to the conclusion that a great America will not only benefit itself and the world, but be in the interest of China.
Two girls wearing face masks ride a scooter past a mural reading "whatever Indonesia" in Tangerang on 23 May 2020. (Fajrin Raharjo/AFP)

Beyond ASEAN: More 'no-superpower coalitions' needed as US-China rivalry upsets global interests

With China more aggressive and the US more unpredictable, and both more unilateralist, the US-China rivalry has ended the post-Cold War order that benefited Southeast Asia and ASEAN. ISEAS academics Malcolm Cook and Hoang Thi Ha note that Southeast Asian states should consider joining more or establishing minilateral informal coalitions that do not include China and the US.
A pedestrian walks past a government-sponsored advertisement promoting a new national security law in Hong Kong, 29 June 2020. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

National security law for Hong Kong: Will America's ‘smart sanctions’ work against China?

Following China’s passing of the new national security law for Hong Kong, the US has removed Hong Kong’s special privileges. However, previous evidence shows that economic sanctions seldom work. Zaobao correspondent Tai Hing Shing asks if this time will be any different.
In this file photo US President Donald Trump (C) is applauded by former President Barack Obama (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden during Trump's inauguration ceremonies at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on 20 January 2017. (Paul J. Richards/AFP)

Trump or Biden, America's distrust of the Chinese Communist Party will stay 

A new report by the White House has cast China as an ideological threat to cherished liberties and the American way of life. This is a bipartisan approach that will endure even if President Donald Trump loses his bid for a second term.
A boat arriving in Singapore with coolies, circa 1900. The coolies step out of the hold and stand on deck for a photograph taken by the German boat owner. This is a rare and valuable image because there are generally no photographs of early Chinese coolies. Coloured using modern image-processing technology, the photograph takes us right back to that boat deck a century ago, giving us a hint of how these coolies must have looked and felt upon arriving at their destination.

An album of rare photos: From Chinese coolies to Singaporeans

From the 19th century to the 1920s and 1930s, ships transporting hundreds of Chinese coolies ready to work hard and make their "fortune" in Nanyang often docked at Kallang River. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao recently obtained an album with rare photographs of such a ship bringing coolies from Xiamen in Fujian, China, to Singapore in the early 20th century. They are an authentic visual record of Chinese coolies in Singapore a century ago and a powerful throwback to that period.
A sticker of the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask is seen on 10 May 2020 in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images/AFP)

The US empire will not fall anytime soon, going by ancient China’s experience

In his writings, Norwegian academic Johan Galtung predicted the fall of the US empire in 2020. At this mid point of the year, Deng Xize takes stock and holds fast to his earlier opposition to Galtung’s hypothesis, saying that the US empire is not going anywhere just yet — there is simply no other country that can take on a dominant role in its place.
A pro-democracy activist holds his phone while queueing to pay respects to mark the one year anniversary of a man who fell to his death after hanging a protest banner against the now-withdrawn extradition bill on the scaffolding outside a shopping mall, in Hong Kong on 15 June 2020. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

National security law for Hong Kong: The US will not back down, so where are we headed?

The proposed national security law for Hong Kong is speedily moving along, with the draft text recently reviewed at the 19th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. Nonetheless, US researcher Wei Da says that this issue is a trigger point that impinges on bottom lines that could set off serious conflict and repercussions in the Taiwan Strait. Is the onset of a hot war unfolding before our eyes?
Workers labor at the construction site of an elevated highway on the outskirts of Shanghai, 12 June 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Even as the US obstructs its way, how can China build trust for the BRI?

Yu Hong says while the US is mobilising all of its national strength to try to convince the international community to stand against the BRI, there are ways that China’s Belt and Road Initiative can have a second wind. As China rises to the challenge of advancing its “grand strategy” amid a global economy ravaged by Covid-19 and an increasingly hostile international environment, the key to solving its woes is in building trust.