United Nations

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) take part in combat training in the Gobi desert in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 18 May 2018. (Reuters/Stringer/File Photo)

5 nuclear-weapon states vow no arms race: A more peaceful world?

China has made no bones about its role in shepherding a first-ever P5 joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding an arms race. While the release of the statement shows some rational thought and mutual respect among the five nuclear powers, is it of any significance in moderating conflicts between nation-states and preventing possible fights in hotspots such as the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait?
A US-made CH-47 helicopter flies an 18-metre by 12-metre Taiwan flag at a military base in Taoyuan, Taiwan, on 28 September 28, 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Has the US shifted its position on Taiwan, again?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun notes that Beijing’s “one-China principle” has remained largely unchanged while Taiwan’s concept of cross-strait relations has morphed under the DPP to that of Taiwan being already independent. On its part, the US seems to be changing its stance, not least by adding Reagan-era, private assurances to Taiwan to the equation when defining its “one-China policy”. Tough questions need to be answered about how Beijing can curb Taiwan independence without alienating the Taiwanese public, or how the US can support Taiwan’s democracy without encouraging Taiwanese independence and dragging the US into a war with China.
Workers set Chinese national flags on a shopping street ,ahead of a rehearsal for the celebrations to mark the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China, 26 June 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's new-found confidence to hit back at the West

China has often been criticised by the West over various issues, from human rights to the South China Sea to the origins of the coronavirus. However, recent developments have given China confidence and grounds to hit back at the West as well as Japan. Most recently, China accused the West of its poor human rights records in treating indigenous people and their history, the UK's right of rule over Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), and Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear wastewater into the sea. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan explains China’s fresh confidence.
This handout photograph taken on 2 May 2021 and released by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense shows US soldiers and Afghan National Army soldiers raising Afghanistan's national flag during a handover ceremony to the Afghan National Army army 215 Maiwand corps at Antonik camp in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Afghanistan Ministry of Defense/AFP)

Could China send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan?

The US may implicitly have been targeting China when it indicated its plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan completely by 11 September 2021, thereby necessitating regional players to get more involved. If there is a UN peacekeeping mission, China may well join in to guard against spillover security threats to Xinjiang, but its precise involvement may complicate matters.
Black Lives Matter activists stand with shields outside of the Columbus Police Headquarters in reaction to the police shooting of a teenage girl on 20 April 2021 in Columbus, Ohio, US. (Stephen Zenner/Getty Images/AFP)

Chinese academic: Why the US ignores its own human rights issues and accuses others instead

Due to the US's historical and political heritage, Americans assume that they are one up on other countries when it comes to human rights. Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that the US's human rights record has actually been less than perfect. But how is it that they can be in denial about their own faults while accusing others of human rights violations?
This file picture taken on 5 September 2018 shows flags from the Pacific Islands countries being displayed in Yaren on the last day of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). (Mike Leyral/AFP)

Power struggles and Chinese influence in the Pacific island region

The Pacific Island Forum (PIF) has undergone some intense internal power struggle recently, and the region is also subjected to rising global geopolitical competition and tension. In fact, the "Taiwan-China conflict is virulent in this region", says former German diplomat Dr Anne-Marie Schleich.
A worker leaves a construction site in Beijing on 28 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Net-zero CO2 emissions before 2060: Is China's climate goal too ambitious?

President Xi Jinping announced at the 75th session of the UNGA last year that China aims to have its CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. How will its efforts affect China and the world? Ultimately, will taking a bitter pill now help China to leapfrog its constraints and build a sustainable economy?
Students display their paper cutting portraits of the late former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong ahead of his 127th birthday which falls on 26 December, in Lianyungang in eastern China's Jiangsu province on 23 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Multilateralism will work only if nations share the same values

Values underpin multilateral cooperation, asserts economics professor Zhu Ying. The Chinese case is no exception. Their international engagement has been driven by values, whether in the early period of “leaning to one side” and becoming an ally of the Soviet Union, or the present “multilateralism with Chinese characteristics” held up by mechanisms such as the BRI. Question is, what incentive does the international community have to meet them halfway?
A neon sign of the American flag and neon lights at One Times Square in New York, 31 July 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

No country can be the world's policeman: Debt-ridden US needs to focus on itself

For all of President Trump’s failings, says US academic Han Dongping, he did persist in his belief that the US has over-extended itself abroad and sought ways to pull it back. Whoever becomes the US president next will have to recognise that the US’s global role has changed irrevocably since 1945.