World order

A demonstrator wearing a face mask in the colours of the Ukraine flag attends a protest rally against the war in Ukraine at the German Chancellery in Berlin on 4 May 2022. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP)

Russia-Ukraine war: A turning point in Germany’s policy towards China

Economics professor Zhu Ying notes that even though Germany is economically dependent on China, its stand is changing due to the war in Ukraine, with China being seen as supportive of Russia’s invasion that goes against shared universal values. All in all, Germany’s increasing focus on values rather than economic interests is having a spillover effect on China.
A screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia via video link, at a media centre in Boao, Hainan province, China, 21 April 2022. (Xinhua)

Why the Global Security Initiative is important for Asia-Pacific security

Zhang Xumin, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Chinese embassy in Singapore, explains why China believes that the Global Security Initiative espoused by President Xi Jinping at this year’s Boao Forum is a framework that can help to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region and find a path for the Asia-Pacific that ensures security for all, by all, and of all.
Demonstrators gather in support of Ukraine following Russia's invasion, and watch Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's speech as it is broadcasted to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and projected at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, 20 March 2022. (Corinna Kern/Reuters)

When a country needs to choose between realism and idealism

NUS academic Lu Xi notes that following the Russia-Ukraine war, the world will possibly be divided by political ethics, specifically between the idealists and realists who respectively believe in the rule of law and the law of the jungle. In this hypothetical scenario, will small states be able to stay neutral without taking sides? How will they navigate between the big powers and maintain their own national interests?
A member of the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces looks at destructions following a shelling in Ukraine's second biggest city of Kharkiv on 8 March 2022. (Sergey Bobok/AFP)

From real war to online war: Small states need smarter skills to survive a multipolar internet age

Former journalist Goh Choon Kang says that despite having international law and organisations to improve global governance, the law of the jungle still applies in the 21st century. And small states such as Singapore will invariably be caught between powers such as the US, China and Russia to varying degrees. And in the multipolar internet age, even if one is not embroiled in a real physical war, an online war of opinions could also impact societies across the world.
People cross a street during sunset in Shanghai, China, 15 November 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

George Yeo: Charm and China in a multipolar world

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, gave a talk titled “China in a Multipolar World” to students of the Master in Public Administration and Management (MPAM) programme taught in Chinese at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 3 November. He spoke about time and patience needed for a multipolar superstructure to emerge, and for earlier dominant players such as the US to adjust to the new order. In the meantime, it is in China’s interest to master the art of charm, knowing when to go hard or soft in its relations with the US and Europe, its neighbours India and Japan, and issues such as the South China Sea and Taiwan. This is an edited transcript of his speech and excerpts from the Q&A session.
Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing delivers a major address on 9 November 2021 at Fullerton Hotel as part of the IISS Fullerton Lectures, a prestigious series of events on regional and global security issues organised by IISS–Asia. (SPH)

Chan Chun Sing: Singapore amid great power rivalry

Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing gave the speech titled "Singapore amid Great Power Rivalry" at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Fullerton Lecture on 9 November 2021. He said countries around the world possess some agency even amid great power competition, and Singapore can work together with like-minded partners to help build a better world. And while the US and China might feel their differences sharply, there could be more common interests between them than they would probably want to acknowledge, as both countries share a single global system and biosphere with the rest of the world. Here is the full transcript of his speech.
Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
A Capitol police vehicle parks at the US Capitol in Washington, US, 22 May 2021. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

America’s negative turn against China: Role of the US Congress

In recent years, the US Congress has played a major role in America’s unprecedented turn against China. Will China prove to be the factor to bring both parties together in Congress?
People visit the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu River, 1 May 2021, Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Why the world will face a global leadership vacuum

Chen Kang explains why global governance is hard to achieve, not least due to the limited effectiveness of multilateral organisations, the waning willingness of the US to lead in global governance, and the conflicts between global governance and national sovereignty.