Australia, the US and the UK recently launched the enhanced trilateral security partnership “AUKUS”. American academic Zhu Zhiqun believes that AUKUS is divisive and serves the interests of the US military-industrial complex. It has also raised the stakes in China’s threat perceptions, given the unspoken target of the grouping. And now that Australia has picked a side, how will power dynamics play out in the Indo-Pacific region? Will China also seek alliances to strengthen itself?
The formation of the AUKUS security pact involving Australia, the US and the UK will likely give the US and its allies greater strategic depth in the Indo-Pacific, says Wei Da. He believes that the containment of China has moved up a notch and China has to recalibrate its thinking accordingly. One way is to shore up its own alliances, which have traditionally neither been strong nor constant. What can China do about it?
The US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was ugly and messy, but certainly not anywhere catastrophic enough to say that this marks the end of US hegemony. China should not underestimate the US’s strength. In fact, while the US flexes its muscles in conventional warfare and pledges a “no first use” nuclear stance, China should beef up its nuclear deterrence quotient for greater insurance against the US.
Chinese society is facing the debate of whether to aim for "zero-Covid" or to "live with the virus", with its former health minister Gao Qiang and top infectious diseases expert Zhang Wenhong offering opposing views. While the West believes that the world needs to live with an endemic Covid-19, China is still adopting a zero-Covid stance. Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk puts together the arguments and concludes that for China, the zero-Covid stance is here to stay. Why is China determined to achieve zero-Covid?
As a British Carrier Strike Group heads towards Southeast Asia, speculation is rife that a Royal Navy warship will conduct a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. A recent incident in the Black Sea may shorten the odds of that happening.
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.
While the UK imports a high volume of goods from China, it exports many sought-after services in areas including finance, law and accounting. Its latest niche is its expansion into education, targeting the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
US President Joe Biden has suggested an alternative to China’s BRI — one that is enterprise-led, rather than country-led, bringing together democratic nations to help developing nations to upgrade their infrastructure. How attractive would this option be amid some countries’ fears that China is extending its influence through the BRI?
While Western and Chinese governments continue their tit-for-tat one-upmanship, multinational companies and their big brands are running greater risks of stepping on political landmines in the Chinese market. But can they stay out of the fray?