European Union

This photograph taken on 8 June 2021 shows a street vendor walking past narrow residential houses, known as "nha ong" in Vietnamese or "tube houses", in an urban area of Hanoi. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Vietnam needs to do more to reduce trade dependence on China

Vietnam’s trade deficit with China has grown rapidly since 2001, and its heavy dependence on Chinese intermediate and capital goods creates vulnerabilities in its entire production chain. Besides, China has a history of using trade as a weapon to punish countries with which it has disputes. To reduce its trade dependence on Beijing, Vietnam has signed a number of new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in recent years, but these efforts have not produced desired outcomes. Vietnam will need to increase the utilisation rate of these agreements and push forward economic and institutional reforms to strengthen its overall economic resilience.
A train on the Trans-Eurasia Express under the China Railway Express, leaving a logistics centre in Chongqing, 27 July 2021. (CNS)

Can the West's infrastructure plans rival China's BRI?

Recently, the West has proposed infrastructure plans in developing countries in a clear bid to rival China’s BRI. Chinese academic Bu Shaoying thinks that while it may be difficult for the West to succeed in achieving their ambitious plans, China and the West should consider working together, and turn competition into a win-win situation.
A tuktuk is parked at Camoes square in Lisbon on 14 July 2021. (Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP)

Washington threatening Portugal to choose between China and the US?

Portugal has in the past decade developed very lucrative relations with China. Chinese investment significantly assisted its recovery from the 2008 global economic crisis. However, Lisbon’s increasingly close ties with Beijing have raised serious concerns in Washington.
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.
Employees work on a production line manufacturing camera lenses for mobile phones at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, 30 April 2019. (China Daily via Reuters)

Suspension of China-EU investment deal: A hiccup in the short run but a major loss if prolonged

Negotiations on the investment agreement between the EU and China were concluded at the end of last year but the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to freeze any consideration or discussion of the agreement. This was following retaliatory sanctions from China after the EU's round of Xinjiang-related sanctions. NUS academic Cai Daolu sees the suspension as a economic and trade relationship hiccup in the short run. But if prolonged, it would turn into a missed opportunity, not just for EU and China, but for the global economy as well.
Customers drink on reopened cafe terraces on Saint Germain in Paris, France, on 19 May 2021. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Is the China-EU investment deal doomed?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) was effectively frozen by the European Parliament last week, in consideration of China’s human rights issues in Xinjiang and its sanctions on individuals and organisations from the EU. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong asks: will this be the end of the deal, or is there still hope of a revival?
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (second from right) and national security adviser Jake Sullivan (right) speak with Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi (second from left) and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, US, 18 March 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/Pool via Reuters)

Are two camps forming around China and the US?

As China-US competition continues, economics professor Zhu Ying observes that two camps seem to be emerging. But it is not so straightforward as one camp being pro-US and another pro-China. The trilateral relationships of the US-EU-China and China-US-Russia will create pendulum swings.
Emissions rise from the Kentucky Utilities Co. Ghent generating station in Ghent, Kentucky, U.S., on 6 April 2021. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

If Xi Jinping and Joe Biden meet this week, it won't be just about climate change

US climate envoy John Kerry’s visit to China was aimed at getting China to participate in the upcoming US-hosted virtual climate summit later this week, which in turn could be the first step to further dialogue between the leaders of the two countries. At the same time, China also held discussions with France and Germany on climate trajectories. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses how climate cooperation can be a pivot for relations between China and the West.
In this file photo taken on 25 January 2020, medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

The world may never know the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic

A Joint WHO-China Study Team report has said that it is "extremely unlikely" that a Wuhan laboratory leak was the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet the US and other countries have cast doubts on the report, citing delay and access issues. China hit back, labelling this as another smear campaign. With each side singing their own tune, are the report results of any consequence?