Many were caught off-guard when China made forceful statements against the military coup in Guinea. Hasn't China always been circumspect and asked countries to resolve their internal issues well in past such cases? Perhaps Guinea being China’s leading source of bauxite for its aluminum industry is a key motivation. Or perhaps it is a case of finally feeling the need to step up to a greater international role? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
The pandemic has affected BRI projects, but China has swiftly taken measures to keep BRI projects going by ensuring financial flow and supply of materials, so that key BRI projects in Cambodia and Laos are not much affected. Through the BRI, China’s economic presence and influence in Southeast Asia will continue to rise, while Cambodia and Laos will continue to rely more on China for their economic development.
While the Yangtze River Delta region comprising Shanghai and parts of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui has been seeing strong economic development, it could be more productive. Provinces with their own targets to meet have few incentives for regional integration, leaving the region as a whole less competitive. How can policies or market mechanisms be implemented to encourage more collaboration between local governments?
High-speed rail and other infrastructure development have been proceeding apace under China’s Western Region Development Strategy. However, in trying to catch up with the eastern region, the gap between provinces in the western region may have inadvertently been widened. Without an effective division of labour, wasted resources and unnecessary competition are likely.
China has sought to rectify the imbalance in east-west regional development by improving connectivity and accelerating infrastructure-building in the western provinces through the Western Region Land-Sea Corridor and BRI projects. How successful they will be depends largely on continued capital injections, the region’s greater opening up and good cooperation with China’s neighbouring countries.
As it pertains to Washington’s relations with Southeast Asia, the Biden administration is not faring much better than its predecessor. A low-hanging fruit would be the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
China was at the centre of discussions in the recently concluded G7 summit in Cornwall. While the US is corralling its allies to take a harder stance on China on various issues, a lot of this is all talk and it will be hard in reality to agree on and implement such plans, says Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan. On its part, China is focusing on increasing its national strength to meet the challenge.
Shanghai and Tokyo both have train systems, but there is a big difference between them in terms of scale, convenience, and commuter behaviour. Researcher Chen Hongbin observes that Shanghai has much to learn from Tokyo, and by extension other cities.
US-based Chinese researcher Zhou Nongjian takes a close look at Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans to improve the US economy and meet the challenge from China. He asserts that infrastructure-building and poverty assistance plans are stop-gap measures that will not address fundamental problems such as the US’s loss of industries and declining national strength. Is the US president putting the cart before the horse?