Indo-pacific

Debris is pictured next to a damaged Buddha statue following fighting between Myanmar's military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Nam Hpat Kar, Kutkai township, in Myanmar's northern Shan State, on 4 February 2024. (AFP)

How China and India are handling Myanmar's crisis three years on

In the three years since the coup in Myanmar, the country’s northern border with China has become an economic and strategic challenge to Beijing’s interests, while India is faced with the biggest humanitarian and security crisis, with refugees entering India posing an immediate security challenge.
This handout photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines taken on 4 January 2024 shows a pilot executing a final check in a Philippine Navy AW109 helicopter on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson during the second iteration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US Indo-Pacific Command Military Cooperative Activity in the South China Sea. (Handout/Armed Forces of the Philippines/AFP)

China’s naval defence gains priority amid US’s aggressive Indo-Pacific strategy

Academic Chen Gang notes that China’s appointment of its first defence minister with a naval background highlights the priority it has set for its military development. Given the US’s aggressive Indo-Pacific maritime strategy, China is responding in kind, leading to "grey rhino" that could spark a war.
People wearing face masks wait at an intersection in Beijing's central business district in China, on 1 November 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The China factor behind several Indo-Pacific hotspots

US researcher Wei Da gives a threat assessment of potential hotspots in 2024, from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait, the Korean peninsula and the Ukraine war, with the China factor in mind.
US President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on 14 November 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

What can we expect from the Xi-Biden summit?

While the US focuses on the competitive dimension of the relationship and emphasises the need to manage competition responsibly, China stresses a win-win outcome of the relationship through cooperation, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun. Will it be “never the twain shall meet” for the US and China?
Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president on the closing day of the BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Center in the Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 August 2023.  (Leon Sadiki/Bloomberg)

China puts spotlight on global south with BRICS expansion

The diplomatic focus on third world countries during Mao Zedong’s era has taken a renewed form in Xi Jinping’s era with the focus on the global south, notes EAI academic Chen Gang. International circumstances could propel the Chinese to further elevate the importance of the global south, not least with the recent expansion of BRICS to include several global south countries.
Indian soldiers prepare for the guard of honour before the arrival of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Red Fort during the celebrations to mark the country's 77th Independence Day in New Delhi, India on 15 August 2023. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP)

India deepens ties with Taiwan

India’s recent high-profile attendance at a security forum in Taiwan suggests it is ready to deepen ties with Taiwan to safeguard its future interests, despite expected pushback from China.
In this photograph taken on 21 July 2023, a yellow-painted building is pictured at the commercial hub of Pettah in Colombo. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

India, France and Japan join hands to counter China’s influence in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s recent high-level diplomatic engagements with India, France and Japan highlighted the island nation’s importance in the ongoing great power rivalry in the Indo-Pacific region. After obtaining an IMF bailout with the assistance of these nations and dealing with the fallout of the pro-China Rajapaksa family, is the new Sri Lankan administration adopting a more Western and India-oriented vision?
People march as they participate in a May Day rally on 1 May 2023 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images via AFP)

Can China and Russia reject Western political civilisation and still prosper?

Researcher Wei Da notes that while many things can be learned and embraced from the West, its political civilisation is one that China has rejected. But isn't that rejecting the core while transplanting the branches and leaves? Will that work?
Taiwan Vice-President William Lai makes a speech at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party annual congress in Taipei, Taiwan, on 16 July 2023. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwan Vice-President William Lai’s upcoming transit in the US draws ire

Taiwan Vice-President and Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate William Lai is expected to transit in the US enroute to Paraguay to attend President-elect Santiago Peña’s inauguration in August. US officials are adopting a “low-key” handling of the transit amid Chinese foreign ministry protests. Lianhe Zaobao journalist Chuang Hui Liang has the details.