Infrastructure

A general view of Chongqing, September 2019. (SPH)

Connecting Chongqing and Southeast Asia: Challenges and potential of China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative

Chongqing’s GDP accounted for 2.3% of China’s total GDP in 2019, and roughly 2.4% of China-ASEAN bilateral trade volume. As the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Connectivity Initiative (CCI) enters its fifth year, EAI academic Yu Hong looks at the CCI and its major project, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (western corridor), and discusses the challenges the western corridor faces in building itself as the foremost connectivity channel between western Chinese and ASEAN enterprises.
Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 6 October 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS)

How a Biden presidency can win back lost American influence in Southeast Asia

If elected the president of the US, Joe Biden will not necessarily gain traction in Southeast Asia by simply not being Trump. He will have to bring tangible economic and political options to the table, and harness the intrinsic power of America’s network of allies and partners.
A stretch of the 400-kilometre long China-Laos railway in Vientiane, 29 July 2020. (Xinhua)

China's Belt and Road Initiative faces huge challenges in Southeast Asia

Beijing has pledged financing, materials, technology and manpower to build railroads, hydropower stations and other infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries under the BRI. But China continues to face enormous challenges getting projects off the ground in countries that need the investment most. US academic Murray Hiebert examines why.
A woman wearing a protective mask looks at blossoms in a park in Beijing on 21 March 2020. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

The world has become greener because of Covid-19, but will it last?

The world has become greener and cleaner because of a drastic drop in human activity brought about by the pandemic. Professor Koh Lian Pin opines that these effects may be only temporary but the fact remains that the world needs to direct more attention to climate change. He sees China playing a bigger role in implementing nature-based solutions for climate and sustainable development. With its experience and immense investments in scientific research and development, it could even lend a hand to countries in the Asian region.
Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet. 
A local villager drive a boat where the future site of the Luang Prabang dam will be on the Mekong River, outskirt of Luang Prabang province, Laos, February 5, 2020. (Panu Wongcha-um/REUTERS)

China-led Mekong project terminated as Thais protest: Participatory diplomacy in action?

Thailand has terminated a China-led project on the Mekong River, following resistance by locals and conservationists. ISEAS visiting fellow Supalak Ganjanakhundee explains how this will affect the future of the Mekong River.
A woman crosses a street in Beijing, April 22, 2020. China's economy shrank for the first time in decades last quarter. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Salvaging China’s economy: Economic growth is meaningless if the society is ruined

Professor Zheng Yongnian recognises that the economic impact of the coronavirus will be deep. Beyond thinking about whether short-term cash payouts should be given, he mulls over measures that can see China through protracted headwinds. Key is the political will needed to move the country’s strategies away from GDPism, or an obsession with GDP, to those of building social safeguards as the country strives to build a sustainable economy.