World Trade Organization

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is pictured on the screen (right) as he addresses his counterparts during the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit being held online in Hanoi on 15 November 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

The overstatement of the RCEP

Chinese netizens and commentators have largely celebrated the RCEP as being China-led and a coup for China. Zhu Ying provides a reality check as to why the Chinese should instead have their feet firmly on the ground.
In this file photo taken on 7 November 2020, a woman waves a Joe Biden flag as people celebrate on Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC, after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Alex Edelman/AFP)

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong: The world will not split into two, but neither can it return to the past

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait interviewed Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ahead of the Bloomberg 2020 New Economy Forum on 17 November. Among the topics they discussed, PM Lee spoke at length about China, the US, global trade, the internet, and most of all, the China-US relationship. This is an excerpt of the interview transcript.
China paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (left) is seen shaking hands with Singapore founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew when Deng first visited Singapore, November 1978. (Ministry of Information and the Arts)

Reflections by George Yeo: Celebrating 30 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China

Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo looks back at the years of engagement between Singapore and China, including the period before the two countries established formal diplomatic ties. He says that while Singapore’s “Chinese-ness” had some part to play in building strong ties over the years, it is paramount that this be distinguished from Singapore’s status as an independent, sovereign, multiracial country. As China continues to rise and US-China tensions continue to fester, ASEAN and Singapore would need to be watchful of issues that could derail relations with China. Notwithstanding, there is much room for cooperation that the region can be sanguine about.
A security guard wearing a face mask walks past the Bund Financial Bull statue, on The Bund in Shanghai, China, on 18 March 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

180 years later, China is still an outsider to the Western-led world order

The West has been setting up new rules and regulations targeting China's economic system, which they regard as a non-market economy that could undermine the proper functioning of international trade. These rules and regulations are formulated through international organisations, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, and even as unilateral domestic laws. However, Chinese academic Zhu Ying says China is not buckling under pressure as its market economy is a mere means for China’s economic development, and not the end goal of its economic system.
As the US pulls out of certain international organisations, China stands ready to take its place. (iStock)

New battleground for China-US competition: International organisations

From bilateral and multilateral diplomatic situations, to international economic organisations and non-economic organisations, the competition between China and the US has intensified in a different way during the pandemic, as new battlegrounds for influence are created. Chinese researcher Peng Nian presents the possible areas that the US and China might continue to clash, even after the pandemic eases.
People are seen in a traditional alleyway, or Hutong, on a polluted day in central Beijing. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

The US has never recognised China as a developing country

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?