Former journalist and MP Goh Choon Kang asserts that out of the 110 invitees for this week’s Summit for Democracy, more than a few countries probably chose to go along out of courtesy. In the main, the international community subscribes to inclusiveness and win-win multilateralism. Efforts to delineate countries based on ideology or values will not go down very well. If anything, the invite and non-invite lists speak of the US’s own geopolitical calculations, not least its search for an added means to contain China.
Kong Tuan Yuen notes that this year’s virtual 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits achieved several deliverables, including commitments from dialogue partners such as China, Japan and the US for increased Covid-19 assistance and other cooperation. The grouping also agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China and Australia respectively. ASEAN’s desire to maintain its centrality is clear from the way it has timed the two comprehensive strategic partnerships and the stance it adopted on ASEAN member state Myanmar's representation.
The EU and ASEAN are supporters of a rules-based global system, says Joergen Oerstroem Moeller. As such, they can use their collective weight to persuade Washington and Beijing to focus less on their bilateral tensions and more on solving contemporary problems.
The US has said that withdrawing from Afghanistan will give it more bandwidth to deal with Russia and its “serious competitor” China. The latter in particular, has become a key target. Chinese academic Wang Zhengxu asserts that the US should learn from its Afghanistan experience that the military option should only be used in self-defence. If it gets involved in China’s core concerns and insists on building an anti-China alliance, China will bristle and regional instability can only increase.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao says that while the US wants China to do more to reduce global carbon emissions, surely it can expect China to prioritise its own development trajectory or to seek leverage in other areas. They should not forget that two can play at that game.