World order

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.
US President Joe Biden speaks about infrastructure and jobs along the banks of the Calcasieu River near Interstate 10 on 6 May 2021, in Westlake, Louisiana. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

While the US sets new goals for G7, China sets new goals for itself

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.
The flags of China, the United States and Chinese Communist Party are displayed in a flag stall at the Yiwu Wholesale Market in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, China, 10 May 2019. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese dissidents and their role amid worsening China-US relations

US-China relations are strained enough, especially with China and the US standing on opposite ends of the spectrum — America’s unbridled liberty driving it to anarchy and China backsliding into an increasingly autocratic state. Chinese dissidents in the US walking into the embrace of the American far right only makes things worse.
People walk along a commercial street in central Paris, France, on 23 December 2020. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

Securing its place in the world economic order: The EU can't afford to wait for the US

The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.
People wearing face masks walk past a Chinese flag in Beijing, China, 11 January 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why do the Chinese behave this way? China's 'middle society' holds the clue

Even as Western academics are translating essays by Chinese academics in a bid to understand China better, Wu Guo says that in the field of cultural psychology, the views of the well-educated “middle society“ in China are worth tapping into. Do the trauma of national humiliation and other cultural baggage explain China’s rising nationalism and persistent “grand unification strategy”?