China has long been propagating its “Two Mountains” concept and has expanded it into the Green Silk Road concept as a sustainable climate governance framework. But many Southeast Asian countries have tailored the concept according to their own needs.
Academic Jianyong Yue notes that despite China’s seeming eagerness to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), doing so may in fact hinder it from realising its full potential, given the strict regulations of the group. Perhaps it might be better for China to focus on developing its domestic market and turning into a strong consumption power capable of supporting its industrial upgrading and economic transformation.
Only by absorbing the essence of modern civilisation can they rise above it, and only by standing on the peak of Western civilisation can they go on to the next level, says East Asian Institute senior research fellow Lance Gore. When one scans the terrain of Chinese public opinion and even academia, we see that very little remains of the constructive mentality once prevalent from the late Qing dynasty onwards — i.e., the spirit of humbly learning from the West for self-strengthening. Instead, we see "cultural self-confidence" that is not substantiated by proper analysis. Furthermore, political reform cannot always revolve around the consolidation of the ruling party’s position, and not make plans with the long-term interests of the Chinese people in mind.
In theory, the Germans are supportive of the government’s call for greater economic independence from China. In practice, this is hard to implement. A roadmap and a better explanation to companies of how this will work and who will pay the price is needed, says The Berlin Pulse editor Jonathan Lehrer.
As China tries to sell its soft power, one channel it is tapping into is its food and beverage industry, with brands like Mixue and Luckin Coffee moving into overseas markets. Alongside its tech exports like smartphones, can China convince others of its products and improve its image?
The lack of Western representation at the recent Belt and Road Forum has strengthened China’s resolve to push ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing is using the Forum as a vehicle to engage the developing world in a more concerted manner.
Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is actively promoting “Vietnamese bamboo diplomacy” as his foreign policy legacy. The concept is not altogether new but it has been riding upon Trong’s political ascendency and Vietnam’s geopolitical fortunes.
The current wave of closures among international schools in China can be attributed to factors such as high tuition fees, options in other countries, and falling birth rate. But the biggest factor is undoubtedly financial tightening by parents, in turn due to China’s economic situation. Zaobao journalist Daryl Lim finds out more.
Japanese academic Toshiya Tsugami notes that while China's economy is likely to fall into medium- to long-term stagnation, its outward investments and financing through the Belt and Road Initiative may not be immediately affected. However, other factors may have a ripple effect on China's ability to maintain the momentum of the BRI.