Climate

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects an honour guard at a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 22 September 2013. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters)

China's regulatory clampdowns: Masterful moves or persistent mistakes?

China has implemented regulatory clampdowns at lightning speed across various industries. Reactions to these new policies and directives have been mixed. Some people approve of the Chinese central government's decisive actions to address societal ills and problems, hailing them as part of a grand master plan. Others are sceptical, thinking China is repeating the same old mistakes of using Chinese-style mobilisation methods and creating a grand illusion that the top leadership has the future mapped out and everything under control. Comparing China's counter-pandemic and carbon reduction efforts, economist Chen Kang examines the problems of the Chinese bureaucratic system and the issues that may go wrong when the government runs grand campaigns.
Indian Army soldiers stand next to a M777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzer positioned at Penga Teng Tso ahead of Tawang, near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), neighbouring China, in India's Arunachal Pradesh state on 20 October 2021. (Money Sharma/AFP)

Overcoming power imbalances and policy clashes: The quest for a peaceful China-India future

Mind games among the US, China, Russia and India may influence Sino-Indian engagement in the new year and beyond. China could move even closer to Russia in dealing with India, and the US could further call on India as a “major defence partner” in its intense competition with China. External factors aside, a peaceful and cooperative China-India future requires synchronised political will in their bilateral and global diplomacy. Key is unequal power and core interests as China and India each employ the diplomacy of smart power. Will an uneasy status quo be maintained in their long-unresolved boundary dispute, and will they find the impetus for collaboration in a post-Covid-19 order?
Climate change activists wearing masks depicting images of world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, take part in a "Squid Game" themed demonstration near the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), the venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on 2 November 2021. (Andy Buchanan/AFP)

Will China-US cooperation go beyond climate change?

Chen Gang sees that rather than an end in itself, climate change can be a springboard for China and the US to deepen cooperation in other areas. This is by virtue of the fact that climate change is often intertwined with issues relating to the economy, trade and foreign policy. Facets of climate change cooperation will have spillover effects that could lead to tariff reductions, investments and greater technology collaborations.
US President Joe Biden delivers opening remarks for the virtual Summit for Democracy in the South Court Auditorium on 9 December 2021 in Washington, DC, US. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

A low-confidence US, an unconvincing democracy summit

In the wake of the first Summit for Democracy held online on 9-10 December, US academic Zhu Zhiqun questions the objectives and outcomes of the summit. He observes that reactions to the summit have largely been critical. The US needs to get its own house in order before it can have a deciding global influence on the debate. Otherwise, by playing up ideological differences, it is simply marking out another area in which the US and China agree to disagree.
Delivery motorcycles parked by a road.

A Singaporean in China: Going green is a hard thing to do in Beijing

With many apps in China to choose from to make quick and affordable purchases, Jessie Tan finds that her previous environmentally conscious self who used to forgo plastic takeout containers and seek out pre-loved goods has succumbed somewhat to easy consumerism. A guilty conscience pricks at her, but the conveniences of daily life in China are hard to give up. Even as China commits to carbon emission reductions, aspirations for a better, easier life has continued to rise. How can China enable people to have a life of comfort without leaving a negative impact on the environment?
Divers swim above a bed of dead corals off Malaysia's Tioman island in the South China Sea, 4 May 2008. (David Loh/File Photo/Reuters)

Marine science collaborations can help defuse tensions in the South China Sea

With environmental security shaping a new South China Sea conversation about ecological challenges, science cooperation represents a litmus test to link the impact of environmental change to both national and international security, and can offer a means to defuse tensions, says James Borton. His new book, Dispatches from the South China Sea: Navigating to Common Ground, will be released soon.
Activists from Greenpeace Indonesia take part in a rally with an ice-made effigy and postcards to Indonesian President Joko Widodo calling for action on climate change in Jakarta on 10 November 2021, as world leaders attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. (Adek Berry/AFP)

US and China not perceived as climate change leaders in Southeast Asia

Although geopolitics is encroaching onto climate change discussions, a poll shows that Southeast Asians remain objective and pragmatic. Achieving climate goals in the region depends on realpolitik and ASEAN leaders’ shrewdness in tapping resources from all major powers.
People participate in a rally during a global day of action on climate change in Manila on 6 November 2021, as world leaders attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. (Maria Tan/AFP)

China and US could work on building clean and green BRI and Build Back Better World (B3W)

The 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow (COP26) concluded with several high-level political pledges delivered, but it is another matter if they will be followed through. For the Southeast Asian region, Indonesian commitments to the phase down of fossil fuel subsidies and the global goal to end deforestation by 2030 will be critical. The broken promise of climate finance may also affect several Southeast Asian countries' ability to see through their pledges. China's climate leadership on the phasing out of coal has taken a hit but amid the gloom, there are some bright spots, not least China and the US finally finding some common ground.
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.