Politics

This handout photo taken on 13 January 2021 by Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting with Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investments Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Parapat, on the edge of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, to discuss cooperation on investments. (Handout/Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs/AFP)

Wang Yi’s Southeast Asia tour: How China woos Southeast Asia in view of US-China competition

In January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited several ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an effort to push for collaboration in key projects under the BRI, and providing access to Chinese vaccines. However, Beijing’s passage of a new coastguard law has undermined Wang Yi’s outreach efforts. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook explains what is behind China's efforts and looks into its implications.
In this file photo from 6 January 2021, supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

America's flawed democracy: When power and cognitive abilities of the people fail to match

Academic Deng Xize notes that the 2020 US election demonstrates what he terms the Socratic Trap, referring to the gap between people’s cognitive abilities and the power they hold. How will this affect the democratic process, and what are the shortcomings of democracy?
The central business district (CBD) of Singapore, 28 January 2021. (Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg)

Survey shows 70% Chinese have favourable view of Singapore

A recent survey of 1,064 Chinese adults done right before the US presidential elections shows that Chinese people are much more favourably disposed towards Singapore than other rich nations such as Australia, Japan and the US. What does China see in Singapore?
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, centre, walks in an area under lockdown in the Jordan area of Hong Kong, China, on 23 January 2021. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

The race is on: Picking Hong Kong’s next chief executive

The Hong Kong chief executive elections are still a year away but speculation is rife as to the possible contenders in the race. Tai Hing Shing surveys the field and does not discount incumbent Carrie Lam.
People walk along a commercial street in central Paris, France, on 23 December 2020. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

Securing its place in the world economic order: The EU can't afford to wait for the US

The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.
Lam Wing-kee in his bookstore that doubles up as his living space. A metal bunk bed can be seen behind him.

Hong Kongers moving to Taiwan: Temporary haven or permanent home?

Following the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong in 2019 and the passing of the national security law last year, Hong Kongers are migrating abroad or thinking of migrating in record numbers. One major destination is Taiwan, with its banner of freedom and democracy. But for these migrants pushed out of their home city by circumstance, is Taiwan a temporary haven, or a permanent home? Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong speaks to Hong Kongers in Taiwan.
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather at the west entrance of the Capitol during a "Stop the Steal" protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., 6 January 2021. (Stephanie Keith/REUTERS)

Capitol siege: Is American democracy doomed?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun gives his take on the future of US leadership and the state of its democracy, making the sad observation that from now on, no one in the world is likely to see, respect, or depend on the US in the same way again. But is American democracy truly doomed?
"Lost in a scarlet sea of fire"

[Comic] A Chinese youth waves goodbye to 2020

Amid the pandemic that has been ravaging the globe, the year 2020 has come to an end. Young comic artist Bai Yi looks at the world with all its scars battling a virus, the deteriorating environment, the faulty human systems, and the seemingly incomprehensible foolishness displayed by the adults.
Chinese and US flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington, 18 January 2011. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

'Relying on the US for security and China for economic benefits is absurd'

From China’s perspective, Australia has been trying to have its cake and eat it too by seeking to rely on the US for security and China for economic benefits. If recent frictions are anything to go by, this balancing act is fraught with contradictions. Will Australia and other countries start to see that the Asia-Pacific’s interests are best served by both China and the US having a stake in the security and economic well-being of the region?