The UK has launched a robust “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific. To its credit, it has executed a series of high-profile diplomatic engagements and military deployments to the region. The question, however, is not about London’s desire to engage with the dynamic region but whether this tilt can be sustained.
China’s American and European partners do not seem keen on granting China a “stable external environment” during the 20th Party Congress. With diplomatic sparring ratcheting up, Xi’s new team will have its work cut out when the congress ends in a few days’ time.
While the UK’s China policy would largely be business as usual with new Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss at the helm, China may be in for a tougher time where it counts as the UK finds a renewed opportunity to influence European partners to work in concert with the US against China.
Queen Elizabeth II was not only an ever-present figure in British modern history, she also played an important role in diplomacy. Over her 70-year reign, she has met with Chinese leaders since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and witnessed the handover of Hong Kong. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk takes a look at the late Queen’s relationship with China.
While some China observers believe that China has sought to displace America from the regional and global order and possesses a grand strategy in the military, political and economic realms, Indian researcher Hemant Adlakha asks if this sense of threat is a mistaken perception or even a grand illusion. But even as the Chinese repeatedly deny such ambitions, Washington looks set to tighten the noose around Beijing. In such an event, China will be left with no choice but to challenge the US twin strategies of encirclement and containment.
In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Fifty years later, amid World War II, Taiwan was returned to China following the Cairo Conference involving the US’s Franklin D. Roosevelt, the UK’s Winston Churchill and the Republic of China’s Chiang Kai-shek. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao gives us a glimpse into those times.
In 2022, as global supply chains normalise and inflation gradually decreases, there is room for cautious optimism in the global economic outlook, but much will depend on countries’ fiscal policies and the extent to which the US Federal Reserve adjusts its interest rates. Economics professor Zhang Rui predicts that if investments of economic giants such as the US, the EU, Japan and China continue to rise, the global economy will expand, but emerging countries will need to be wary of increasing their debt burdens.
Contrary to stereotypical pronouncements of British cuisine as unappetising and boring, modern British fare is often delicious, featuring seasonal produce cooked to perfection, finds cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai. On a starry night, these dishes make a good accompaniment to chats on Shakespeare and Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu.
Professor Wang Gungwu was a keynote speaker at the webinar titled “The New Maritime Silk Road: China and ASEAN” organised by the Academy of Professors Malaysia. He reminds us that a sense of region was never a given for Southeast Asia; trade tied different peoples from land and sea together but it was really the former imperial masters and the US who made the region “real”. Western powers have remained interested in Southeast Asia through the years, as they had created the Southeast Asia concept and even ASEAN. On the other hand, China was never very much interested in the seas or countries to its south; this was until it realised during the Cold War that Southeast Asia and ASEAN had agency and could help China balance its needs in the maritime sphere amid the US's persistent dominance. The Belt and Road Initiative reflects China’s worldview and the way it is maintaining its global networks to survive and thrive in a new era. This is an edited transcript of Professor Wang’s speech.