Soft power

A woman rides a scooter along a street decorated with Vietnamese national flags ahead of Vietnam's National Day celebrations in Hanoi on 1 September 2021. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Vietnamese still favours the US despite Afghanistan spectre

Many observers have drawn parallels between the US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and memories of the “fall of Saigon”. But Vietnamese reactions to US Vice President Kamala Harris’s recent visit there shows continued favourable sentiments towards the US.
A view of part of the Laos-China Railway under construction in Vientiane, Laos, 5 July 2021. (CNS)

BRI projects in Cambodia and Laos roll on despite Covid-19

The pandemic has affected BRI projects, but China has swiftly taken measures to keep BRI projects going by ensuring financial flow and supply of materials, so that key BRI projects in Cambodia and Laos are not much affected. Through the BRI, China’s economic presence and influence in Southeast Asia will continue to rise, while Cambodia and Laos will continue to rely more on China for their economic development.
A man wearing a protective face mask, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, makes his way at a local shopping street in Tokyo, Japan, 5 May 2021. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Why Japan is investigating Confucius Institutes in Japanese universities

Last month, following a question by a Diet member, Japan's education minister announced a fact-finding investigation into the presence of Confucius Institutes in Japanese educational institutions. What influence do these Confucius Institutes have in Japan and should they be allowed to continue being in operation?
Health workers wait for their turn as Vietnam starts its official rollout of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for health workers, at Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hai Duong province, Vietnam, 8 March 2021. (Thanh Hue/Reuters)

Why the Vietnamese embrace US vaccines but shun Chinese ones

The public reactions to the arrivals of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam — one from China, the other from the US — underscore a geopolitical dilemma for the country.
People watch the annual Fourth of July parade on 4 July 2021 in Saugerties, New York. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

SEA nations may need to pick a side as US-China rivalry intensifies

There is bipartisan support under the Biden administration to compete with and confront China, reflecting the American desire to maintain its dominant position in the international system. However, the US’s ability to act as a reliable security partner is heavily constrained by its domestic political paralysis caused by ideological divisions as well as social and economic upheavals. And while Southeast Asian countries want the US to remain militarily and economically engaged in the region to act as a counterweight to China, they do not want to take sides between the two superpowers. Canadian academic Shaun Narine believes this may be an increasingly difficult balance as US-China rivalry intensifies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not seen) at the Kremlin in Moscow on 28 June 2021. (Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP)

Extension of China-Russia friendship treaty does not mean ties are solid

Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing notes that even as China and Russia extend their friendship treaty, their relationship could still fluctuate in the face of US-China tensions and the uneasy China-US-Russia strategic triangle.
A banner marking the centenary of the Chinese Community Party is seen at a subway station in Shanghai, China on 28 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Former Singapore FM George Yeo on CCP’s centenary: The Chinese revolution continues

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, shares his thoughts on China’s evolution with Lianhe Zaobao on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. He sees the milestone as just a pitstop in the long journey of the Chinese nation. Fresh thinking and innovation will be needed as the country progresses. Equally important, developing a “broad-minded and big-hearted nationalism” which is humble and learns from others will keep China on the path of being a great nation. Here are edited excerpts from the interview.
G7 leaders attend a working session during the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, 12 June 2021. (Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters)

D10 group of democracies: A stronger alliance to contain China?

Chinese PhD candidate Du Zhiyuan notes that the recent G7 summit in the UK involving G7 members and guests was in fact a gathering of a “D10” club of democratic partners, along the lines proposed by British PM Boris Johnson. And the D10, in turn, could ultimately lead to a trans-Atlantic/Indo-Pacific alliance better fit to contain China.
People watch a pop up event in Times Square on 11 June 2021 in New York City. (Angela Weiss/AFP)

US-China relations: Can we pin our hopes on future generations?

While views of China remain largely negative in the West, US academic Zhu Zhiqun finds one bright spot — the young who appear more receptive to alternative views of China. Will their openness help to improve the state of US-China relations?