Soft power

Paramilitary police stand guard as people gather to celebrate the arrival of the New Year near the Bund in Shanghai, China, 31 December 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Covid-19 will be overcome, but can China and the US avoid the risk of war and conflict?

US-based researcher Wei Da feels that both China and the US need to make significant adjustments in their relations with each other, or else the scenario of a new Cold War and a real threat of hot war will not be far off. Who needs to understand that the world is different now, and adjustments have to be made? And who is the more backward party that has to adjust more?
This handout photo taken and released by the Indian Navy on 17 November 2020 shows ships taking part in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the Arabian sea. India, Australia, Japan and the United States started the second phase of a strategic navy drill in the Northern Arabian sea. (Indian Navy/AFP)

Indo-Pacific: The central theatre of 21st century great power struggle

ISEAS academic Daljit Singh notes that the new great power contest has spilled over into the Indian Ocean, and the term “Indo-Pacific” will better reflect the strategic geography of this central theatre of the 21st century great power struggle.
A Chinese flag is seen at the landing site of the return module of China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in Siziwang Banner, in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on 17 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Is China indeed the biggest threat to the US?

Over the past few years, and especially in the past few months, the US has been painting China as its biggest threat and even enemy. Are these claims valid or exaggerated? What does it mean for the incoming Biden administration, and will it be able to improve China-US relations? Economics professor Zhu Ying explores the topic.
Paramilitary police officers wearing face masks patrol on a street in Beijing on 13 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China's wolf-warrior tactics confusing, misleading and unprofessional

When it would have been advantageous to watch and wait while the US leadership transition is carried out, China has decided to up the ante with a high-profile show of wolf-warrior diplomacy. Is it setting itself up for a boomerang effect?
Students display their paper cutting portraits of the late former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong ahead of his 127th birthday which falls on 26 December, in Lianyungang in eastern China's Jiangsu province on 23 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Multilateralism will work only if nations share the same values

Values underpin multilateral cooperation, asserts economics professor Zhu Ying. The Chinese case is no exception. Their international engagement has been driven by values, whether in the early period of “leaning to one side” and becoming an ally of the Soviet Union, or the present “multilateralism with Chinese characteristics” held up by mechanisms such as the BRI. Question is, what incentive does the international community have to meet them halfway?
People wearing face masks walk along a street during a rush hour in Bejing on 16 December 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Chinese academic: How the West's perception of China plummeted in 2020

Even as 2020 will go down in history as the year of the coronavirus, economics professor Zhu Ying notes that it also marks a shift in how Western countries view China — and not in a good way.
A clown interacts with people at a main shopping area in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 6 December 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

China has entered the 'gilded cage' of RCEP and is considering the CPTPP. What's next?

With the recent signing of the RCEP and China’s comment that it will “favourably consider” joining the CPTPP, are prospects looking up for greater domestic reform and regional economic integration across the board, and will dreams of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific have a higher chance of eventually taking shape? Japan-based academic Zhang Yun looks at the potential outlook.
A street vendor walks past a billboard for a photo studio featuring an image of US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, 24 November 2020. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

America's coming back — but ASEAN will cope, with or without her

Since President Donald Trump yanked the US out of the TPP as part of his “America First” doctrine in 2017, Southeast Asia has been more without Trump than with. In fact, America is increasingly seen as a declining power in Southeast Asia and countries in the region are adjusting to this reality. ISEAS academic William Choong explains what this means for the US, China and ASEAN.
The Dalai Lama (second from right) and Panchen Lama (second from left) with Mao Zedong, accompanied by Premier Zhou Enlai (first from left) and CCP vice chairman Liu Shaoqi during the Chinese New Year period, 23 February 1955.

[Photo story] Chinese central government and the Dalai Lama: 1950–1956

From the signing of the 17-point agreement, or in full, the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, to the inaugural meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet held at Lhasa Hall, Tibet’s first auditorium, historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao offers a glimpse of Tibetan history during the early 1950s.