Decoupling

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pose for a picture prior the Quad ministerial meeting in Tokyo, Japan, 6 October 2020. (Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS)

Containing China: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?

With the foreign ministers of the US, Japan, India, and Australia convening in Tokyo for their latest ministerial quadrilateral security dialogue meeting last week, and the US especially keen to contain China through this grouping, economics professor Zhu Ying wonders: Will the Quad become an Asian mini-NATO?
A mining/crushing supervisor at MP Materials displays crushed ore before it is sent to the mill at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, 30 January 2020. (Steve Marcus/File Photo/Reuters)

How to break China's monopoly on rare earths

Much attention has been focused on the burgeoning US-China tech war and the US’s suppression of Chinese companies. But less is known about China’s firm hold on the rare earths supply chain, which has the potential to derail the world’s production of products from the humble smartphone to F-35 aircraft and guided missile systems. In response, the US and its allies, including the EU, Japan and Australia, are actively coalescing around new rare earths strategies. But private investment alone will not be enough to challenge China’s global monopoly in rare earths. Can new international public-private partnerships be the answer?
In this photo taken on 4 September 2020, a man walks with the Chinese national flag in a park next to the Yangtze River in Wuhan. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Mixed signals to the US? China has revealed its bottom line

After a brief softening of its stance towards the US, China seems to be hardening its rhetoric again. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu says this has much to do with President Xi Jinping’s clear message not to trifle with the Chinese Communist Party’s bottom line — relations between the party and the people are sacrosanct.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and US President Donald Trump shake hands after signing the US-China phase one trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, 15 January 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

US-China trade talks resume on a wary note

​After days of delay, the US and China reviewed their phase one trade agreement in a telephone call on 25 August. Both sides sidestepped the question of recent US actions against Chinese companies, but there is no guarantee that this uneasy truce will hold up as the 2020 US presidential race intensifies.
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask following the Covid-19 outbreak, stands guard outside the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China must endure the storm, for time is on its side 

Senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute Lance Gore says that China must learn to rein in its rage and impatience and do its fair share of self-reflection. What good would it do if it gives in to petty emotions and provokes a US-led coalition against it? For sure, it still has room for manoeuvre, thanks to the attractiveness of its huge consumer market. But it must not miss the woods for the trees: the US is still more powerful than it is and the two are better off as friends than enemies. Question is, will China be able to be humble, look itself squarely in the mirror, and refrain from doing the things it must not?
A man wearing a protective face mask walks past a mural inside Toyota's Mega Web showroom in Tokyo, 4 August 2020. (Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg)

Japan is not decoupling from China

As the coronavirus continues to affect supply chains worldwide, especially with China being a key hub, Japan is taking steps to diversity its sources and be less reliant on China. However, contrary to previous speculations, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima does not think that the Japanese government is attempting to decouple from China, in the way that the decoupling of advanced industries is being carried out in the US.
A police robot keeps watch on a shopping street in Shanghai, following the Covid-19 outbreak, on 16 June 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Smart cities: The future of ASEAN-China cooperation

In the post-Covid-19 world, global supply chains are expected to be reconfigured as countries look to reduce their reliance on China. Enter greater room for ASEAN-China cooperation, particularly in areas related to the digital economy, such as in the development of smart cities. Associate Professor Gu Qingyang of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) sets out the arguments.
A Mirimus Inc lab scientist holds Covid-19 samples from recovered patients on 10 April 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Misha Friedman/Getty Images/AFP)

Did Chinese spies steal US technology? US thinks so and is taking action

Convinced that China has been stealing information and know-how through people insurgents at all levels, the US is making haste to withdraw opportunities for Chinese to tap on US innovation in any way. Thus far, experts of Chinese descent who work in particularly sensitive fields in the US are facing the brunt of increased scrutiny. Does this signal the end of long-held American generosity and openness in sharing knowledge, at least as it applies to the Chinese?