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Western media has reported that China has sent hypersonic weapons into orbit. (Internet/CNS/SPH)

What’s real (and not) about China’s hypersonic weapons tests

China’s recent tests of hypersonic weapons has attracted the attention of the West, which is wary about what this rapid progress might mean. On its part, China is downplaying these tests as “routine”, and emphasising that they are helpful to eventually reduce the costs of space technology. Is the US overreacting and playing the “victim”, while having its own agenda?
This file photo taken on 18 November 2021 shows the name plaque at the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, Vilnius. (Petras Malukas/AFP)

How Beijing should respond to Lithuania’s signals on Taiwan

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that the establishment of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, with “Taiwan” rather than “Taipei” in its name, should not be looked upon by Beijing merely as Taiwan gaining diplomatic space. China needs to understand better the dynamics underpinning China’s relations with Europe and the shifts in the EU's foreign policy strategy. Taking a heavy-handed approach is likely to be counterproductive for the Asian giant.
This aerial picture taken on 16 October 2021 shows trucks loaded with coal waiting near Gants Mod port at the Chinese border with Gashuun Sukhait, in Umnugovi province, in Mongolia. (Uugansukh Byamba/AFP)

Between a rock and a hard place: Mongolia’s ambivalent relations with China

Sandwiched between Russia to the north and China to the south, landlocked Mongolia has always had tough choices to make in its foreign policy strategies. Towards China, which it used to be a part of and continues to share kinship ties with the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, it harbours historical suspicion. But with China being its top export destination and key investment partner, the head may rule the heart.
People cross a street during sunset in Shanghai, China, 15 November 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

George Yeo: Charm and China in a multipolar world

George Yeo, Singapore’s former foreign minister, gave a talk titled “China in a Multipolar World” to students of the Master in Public Administration and Management (MPAM) programme taught in Chinese at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy on 3 November. He spoke about time and patience needed for a multipolar superstructure to emerge, and for earlier dominant players such as the US to adjust to the new order. In the meantime, it is in China’s interest to master the art of charm, knowing when to go hard or soft in its relations with the US and Europe, its neighbours India and Japan, and issues such as the South China Sea and Taiwan. This is an edited transcript of his speech and excerpts from the Q&A session.
Tourists wearing face masks walk along Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on 20 October 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

China’s alliance with Russia is solidifying

Even though several analyses have it that the China-Russia relationship is filled with underlying tensions and can break without warning, Loro Horta believes that the alliance they have can stand the test of time, given a mutual dependency for resources as well as common geopolitical interests and threat perceptions. Instead of warning Russia about China, Washington may want to worry more about the state of its own alliances.
People walk past a Chinese flag near the Forbidden City during National Day holidays in Beijing, China, 5 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

China will be the US's most difficult opponent

While there may have been some minor tweaks from the US side to smoothen relations with China, the overall suppression and containment of China remains unchanged from the Trump to Biden eras as fundamental differences exist between the two countries, says Wu Guo.
An armed homemade Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) takes off from a motorway in Pingtung, Taiwan, during the annual Han Kuang drill on 15 September 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Domestic politics and mainland China's growing incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone

Mainland China’s recent aggressive flexing of muscles in Taiwan’s air defence identification zone tests the latter’s air defence capabilities and inflicts psychological warfare on the Taiwanese. Nonetheless, says Loro Horta, Beijing knows very well what it is doing. While the number of incursions has increased in frequency and number of aircraft involved, the PLA has not violated actual Taiwanese sovereign airspace. In the lead-up to key political events in the Chinese Communist Party’s calendar, such incursions may continue.
A journalist takes a picture of the national flag during a visit to the Museum of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, China, on 25 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

The US has AUKUS. Where are China's alliances?

The formation of the AUKUS security pact involving Australia, the US and the UK will likely give the US and its allies greater strategic depth in the Indo-Pacific, says Wei Da. He believes that the containment of China has moved up a notch and China has to recalibrate its thinking accordingly. One way is to shore up its own alliances, which have traditionally neither been strong nor constant. What can China do about it?
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 28 June 2021. (Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russia and China in Southeast Asia: Pragmatic cooperation against US primacy

Russia-China relations are at a historic high due to mutual concerns over US primacy, economic synergies and strong interpersonal ties between their national leaders. However, despite deepening military cooperation and closer diplomatic coordination, a formal alliance between Russia and China is not likely as this would constrain their strategic autonomy and undercut key foreign policy narratives. The South China Sea dispute is the most complex issue and a potential fault line in Russia-China relations in Southeast Asia. While Moscow has been broadly supportive of China’s position, Beijing’s jurisdictional claims threaten Russia’s lucrative energy interests in Southeast Asia.