International relations

A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner taxis past the Final Assembly Building at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, South Carolina, US, 31 March 2017. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

Boeing losing out amid strained China-US trade relations

Three of China’s major airlines have announced plans to purchase about 300 aircrafts from Europe’s Airbus, much to the chagrin of the US’s Boeing. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan discusses the reasons behind the move and what this might portend.
People shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on 13 June 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran seeks greater regional role through full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While some pundits have it that Iran sees gaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of geopolitics, Fan Hongda thinks that the more bread-and-butter concern of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is on its mind. But this is not to say that Iran does not harbour ambitions of playing a greater regional role.
US President Joe Biden speaks with members of the media before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the White House in Washington, US, 17 June 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

US sets up strategic obstacles against 'autocratic' China

Political commentator William He notes that the Biden administration is clear and sharp with its China policy and strategy. It is setting up strategic obstacles to contain "autocratic" China, addressing long-term fundamental issues such as the right to speak on global values and order, and maintaining the lead in military powers and forming alliances.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks along with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

No new market access, but IPEF could be a promising start

The newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity has arguably low or no ambition around market access, but perhaps because of its non-contentious nature, could be a promising start. Countries in the region welcome options amid fears of Chinese economic coercion and may just provide the momentum needed when the time is ripe.
Quad summit leaders US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kantei Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

India in Quad: Black sheep or dark horse

The joint statement issued following the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo on 24 May neither condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nor committed the quartet to imposing economic sanctions on Russia. The twin failure or reluctance was largely attributed to India’s unwillingness to jeopardise its deep ties to Russia. But even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, analysts have been describing India as an “outlier” in the group. Is India really the weakest link, or will it eventually emerge as the keystone in the quartet?
US President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida listen to other leaders joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) launch event virtually, at Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 23 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

IPEF: How committed are the US and ASEAN countries?

Recent moves by the US, not least President Biden's recent launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), are meant to woo Asian countries. Several ASEAN countries are receptive to the IPEF and the US naturally considers those who join as "friends". But will this count for much? Japanese academic Seiya Sukegawa examines the many unanswered questions with regard to the new framework.
Eileen Gu at the Beijing Winter Olympics, 10 February 2022. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Chinese netizens questioning Eileen Gu's identity and loyalty

Skiing star Eileen Gu has announced that she will be an ambassador for Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics, sparking online debate in China. In today's increasingly polarised world, can a "globalised" person gain acceptance and recognition from conflicting parties and be that communicator of goodwill?
This aerial photo taken on 30 May 2022 shows the local fishing village of Neian in Xiyu Township on the Penghu islands. In the sleepy fishing towns on the Penghu islands, many locals are sanguine despite the frequent - and noisy - reminders of the military threat by neighbouring China. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

China-US war of words: Is Taiwan Strait international waters?

China has recently begun a campaign to say that the Taiwan Strait cannot be considered “international waters” based on the UNCLOS. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong sees this as Beijing's way to assert its jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait and that it is ready to boost and expand its scope of military actions over the area.
China's State Councilor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe walks to attend a bilateral meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, 10 June 2022. (Caroline Chia/Reuters)

Framing China’s actions: From ‘assertive’ to ‘aggressive’

US-led Western rhetoric has not been friendly to China, with “assertive” being the operative word. However, at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, that term was “upgraded” to “aggressive”, prompting a strong response from China. Is this portrayal deserved and are tensions likely to persist in the region? What should the ASEAN countries’ response be?