New Cold War

This photo taken on 21 October 2020 shows a mural painted on a wall on Taiwan's Kinmen Island. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

China-US relations: ‘Strategic clarity’ on Taiwan may lead to hot war

The three communiques in US-China relations gave both the US and China a certain cloak of strategic ambiguity, but with senior members of the US government appearing to go against the tenets and China stubbornly holding the US to its clauses, what is left seems to be stark, opposing positions that make drifting into hot war all the more likely.
This photo taken on 24 September 2020 shows workers setting up national flags along a street ahead of the upcoming National Day in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. (STR/AFP)

China's next Five-Year Plan focuses on security, stability and quality of development; adopts a more subdued tone

Amid the pandemic, US elections and intensifying geopolitical tensions around the globe, China’s recently-released communique of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drew much attention. What does this 14th Five-Year Plan say about China’s development trajectory and its focus for the next five years? How has it changed given the new global situation? EAI academic Qi Dongtao dissects the document.
A man walks past a mural by artist Eric Junker which reads ‘Vote- Remember Them In November’ on 2 October 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The mural features images of deceased Black shooting victims George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. (Mario Tama/AFP)

A win for Biden is a win for China?

Economics professor Zhu Ying is well aware that US-China relations would be hard to set right whether the Democrats or Republicans win the US presidential election. But Biden at least has indicated that he does not want a new Cold War with China, and that makes all the difference.
This photo taken on 26 September 2020 shows first-year students holding a Chinese flag during a commencement ceremony at Wuhan University in Wuhan, Hubei, China. (STR/AFP)

Geopolitics is the biggest threat to China-US relations, not trade or tech wars

Contrary to doomsday predictions, the US-China trade and tech relationship is actually rather sturdy. After all, it was their economic and trade complementarity that brought them finally to agree on a phase one trade deal, and against all odds, US direct investments into China grew by 6% (from a year earlier) in the first half of the year. Geopolitics and volatile brinkmanship in the name of power relations could instead be the greater threat. But between Trump and Biden, which is the lesser evil?
Delivery workers wearing face masks ride scooters in front of Lujiazui financial district, in Shanghai, China, 10 July 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Socialism and universal basic income: Creating happy societies in the age of the knowledge economy

Lance Gore analyses that the knowledge economy offers great potential for bettering the lives of people. But capitalism may not be the best route to take. Power in the hands of a few, income gaps, job losses and wage cuts in the digital age bear this out. Can China offer a third way as it seeks to marry socialism with a market economy? The West is already considering some proposals with a socialist bent such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Surely, proponents of socialism can think of even more revolutionary ideas?
A woman uses her mobile phone to take pictures at the Forbidden City in Beijing on 1 September 2020. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

China is waiting for the American bundle of nerves to calm down 

Sun Peisong believes that China actually understands the plot and knows why it is being vilified in American politics. Its strategy is to tough it out, particularly during the US elections season, and wait for the US to come back to the table.
People wear protective face masks at a shopping complex in Beijing, China, on 17 July 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Is the US just a ‘paper tiger’ or is she able to derail China’s progress?

Even though the countries are in a state of “non-war”, US-China tensions will not go away, says Chinese scholar Deng Qingbo. The US can only be expected to continue using China as a bogeyman even after the presidential election. While he is confident that China will be able to handle containment measures thrown at it deftly, he warns that it needs to guard against being increasingly withdrawn from the world as it nurses its bruises from its battles with the US. Failing to do so would only mean the US has succeeded in thwarting its goal of greater reform and opening up.
A paramilitary police officer wearing a face mask following the Covid-19 outbreak, stands guard outside the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China must endure the storm, for time is on its side 

Senior research fellow at the East Asian Institute Lance Gore says that China must learn to rein in its rage and impatience and do its fair share of self-reflection. What good would it do if it gives in to petty emotions and provokes a US-led coalition against it? For sure, it still has room for manoeuvre, thanks to the attractiveness of its huge consumer market. But it must not miss the woods for the trees: the US is still more powerful than it is and the two are better off as friends than enemies. Question is, will China be able to be humble, look itself squarely in the mirror, and refrain from doing the things it must not?
Chinese servicemen walk past portraits of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and patrol a street near the Great Hall of the People on the opening day of the National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

From a Marxist perspective, the China-US Cold War is inevitable

Zhu Ying states that it is impossible to understand the new Cold War between China and the US without understanding the clash of ideologies that marked the first Cold War and which clouds the current state of relations between China and the US. If we are lucky, like the first Cold War, the new Cold War will not tip over into a hot war. However, accidental mishaps wrought by zealous ideologues cannot be ruled out.