International relations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi waits for the US secretary of state at the 60th Munich Security Conference at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel in Munich, Germany, on 16 February 2024. (Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/AFP)

Pragmatism shall rule in China's 2024 international relations playbook

Amid China’s top diplomat Wang Yi’s stern warnings against “de-sinicisation in the name of de-risking” at the recent Munich Security Conference, academic Alessandro Arduino asks: is China prepared to alter its international relations playbook?
Singapore’s ambassador-at-large and former ambassador to the US Chan Heng Chee. (SPH Media)

Chan Heng Chee: Amid chaos, our national interest is the only constant

The future world will neither be unipolar nor bipolar but multipolar; the structure will be fragmented, and the heights of the poles will be asymmetrical. Amid the tensions and pitfalls, how does Singapore cope in an increasingly complex world? Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong speaks with Singapore’s ambassador-at-large and former ambassador to the US Chan Heng Chee about the challenges the world faces.
A pedestrian rides an escalator in Pudong's Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, on 29 January 2024. (Raul Ariano/Bloomberg)

Will following the US bring peace and prosperity to China?

Many in the Chinese world have unquestionably accepted the idea that friendly relations with the US will guarantee a country’s prosperity. However, academic Jianyong Yue notes that despite the honeymoon period between China and the US in the 1980s, China was still not endowed preferential treatment. Meanwhile, many countries have seen immense development even without the help of the US.
 (From L to R) President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of China Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a BRICS family photo during the 2023 BRICS Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 23 August 2023.

India and China’s volatile new status quo

Sino-Indian relations have languished in a state of suspended animation for four years. A return to stability in the relationship would require, at the least, sustained high-level engagement.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Nauru's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lionel Aingimea speak after signing a joint communiqué on the resumption of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Nauru at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on 24 January 2024. China and Nauru formally re-established diplomatic relations on 24 January, after the tiny South Pacific nation cut ties with Taiwan. (Andrea Verdelli/AFP)

Will Taiwan face further diplomatic isolation amid Beijing’s use of UN Resolution 2758?

The recent diplomatic shift of Nauru from Taiwan to mainland China has brought focus to United Nations Resolution 2758, whereby China is accused of manipulating the interpretation of the resolution to fit its needs. Lianhe Zaobao associate foreign news editor Sim Tze Wei takes a look at the different interpretations of the resolution and its impact on Taiwan’s international standing.
Climate activists protest after a draft of a negotiation deal was released, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 13 December 2023. (Rula Rouhana/Reuters)

China has reasons to smile about the COP28 climate summit

Erik Baark takes stock of China’s gains at COP28 in Dubai in December 2023. The status of China in the negotiations was clearly enhanced by the compromise achieved by the US and China with the Sunnylands Statement in November 2023. On the difficult matter of establishing an international consensus on the approach to fossil fuels, China also seems to have found room to manoeuvre in the call for countries to commit to “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems”.
World leaders at the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) Leaders Meeting as part of the ASEAN-Japan 50th Year Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, Japan, on 18 December 2023. (Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)

Japanese academic: Japan's declining national power must be considered in its security policy

While the Fukuda Doctrine introduced by former Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda was meant to promote peace and stability in Southeast Asia and ASEAN, the current approach of getting countries to choose between Japan and China might prompt ASEAN countries to hesitate from cooperating with Japan, says Japanese academic Hidekazu Wakatsuki.
A Philippines coast guard personnel looks at the Chinese Coast Guard vessel as they come close during a mission to deliver provisions at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea on 10 November 2023. (Jam Sta Rosa/AFP)

It's not about fear: What drives the Philippines’ response in the South China Sea

Philippine academic Robert Joseph P. Medillo says that rather than looking at the Philippines’ reactions to China’s actions in the South China Sea from the prism of fear, one can understand it as standing up to a major power, through building a collective of like-minded states that can rally together to press for transparency and accountability from China.
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Leaders Retreat during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, California, US, on 17 November 2023. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

APEC: No longer an 'economic cooperation' forum

Commentator Jin Jian Guo notes that the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was of less interest than the sideline meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden. 'Open regionalism', previously synonymous with APEC, seems a thing of the past.