Iran

People shop at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, on 13 June 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Iran seeks greater regional role through full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While some pundits have it that Iran sees gaining full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in terms of geopolitics, Fan Hongda thinks that the more bread-and-butter concern of strengthening economic and trade cooperation is on its mind. But this is not to say that Iran does not harbour ambitions of playing a greater regional role.
People cross a pedestrian crossing in Hong Kong on 16 May 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

Why is the Hong Kong government targeting Telegram?

The Hong Kong government has announced that it is considering blocking Telegram in response to doxxing content on the social media platform. The app has also been accused of playing a key role in facilitating social and democratic movements. But if Hong Kong bans Telegram, will that be the city's first step towards conforming with the mainland’s internet censorship rules?
Caution tape is seen near the Chinese embassy as activists hold a demonstration calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to "allow safe passage to North Koreans detained in China" in Washington, DC on 24 September 2021. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

The war on terrorism has ended. Can the US win the next battle of great power competition?

Twenty years after the historic 9/11 attacks on the US, the threat of terrorism has largely been contained and a new era of great power competition has returned. ISEAS researcher Daljit Singh notes that in the past century, the US has been adamant about not letting any single power dominate East Asia, and will most probably continue to do so. What will this new era be like when the US's competitor is a rising China? And what can Southeast Asian states do about it?
People wearing face masks walk past a mural displaying Iran's national flag in Tehran, Iran on 17 June 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Chinese academic: Can China challenge the US’s standing in the Middle East?

Although China has made inroads into the Middle East as a major investor and economic partner, some are suspicious of its intentions in being all things to all countries in this fractious region. Thus, even if there is much hype about its ability to take over the US’s role in the region, China should remember that it still lacks the power and wherewithal to exert a major influence.
Cyclists and vehicles wait at a traffic signal light in Beijing, China on 21 April 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

No one in the world loves the US as much as the Chinese? Not anymore.

China is no longer as enamoured with the US as it used to be, with its realisation that the US will never allow it to reach to its level and stand on an equal footing. Freed from sentimentality towards the US, China may accelerate its search for new partners to ensure its survival, says Han Dongping.
This handout photograph taken on 2 May 2021 and released by Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense shows US soldiers and Afghan National Army soldiers raising Afghanistan's national flag during a handover ceremony to the Afghan National Army army 215 Maiwand corps at Antonik camp in Helmand province, Afghanistan. (Afghanistan Ministry of Defense/AFP)

Could China send peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan?

The US may implicitly have been targeting China when it indicated its plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan completely by 11 September 2021, thereby necessitating regional players to get more involved. If there is a UN peacekeeping mission, China may well join in to guard against spillover security threats to Xinjiang, but its precise involvement may complicate matters.
Iranians drive down a street in the capital Tehran, on 11 April 2021. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

China-Iran deal complements the BRI, but faces Iranian domestic opposition and US sanctions

The recently signed China-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement will be a linchpin for China’s BRI in the Middle East, says Yu Hong. In the best-case scenario, it will be a win-win arrangement, providing Iran with the foreign investment it needs and China the oil supply and strategic influence it hopes to get. However, a number of challenges stand in the way including US sanctions and domestic opposition within Iran.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi bump elbows during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran, 27 March 2021. (Majid Asgaripour/West Asia News Agency via Reuters)

Chinese academic: China-Iran deal will benefit China, Iran and Middle Eastern countries in the long run

A 25-year cooperation agreement was signed recently between China and Iran. The West and countries in the Middle East are alarmed by what closer China-Iran ties could mean for their interests, while the Iranians and the Chinese have different reactions to the news. Fan Hongda weighs the pros and cons of the agreement and what it means for all its stakeholders.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (second from right) and national security adviser Jake Sullivan (right) speak with Politburo member and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi (second from left) and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, US, 18 March 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/Pool via Reuters)

Are two camps forming around China and the US?

As China-US competition continues, economics professor Zhu Ying observes that two camps seem to be emerging. But it is not so straightforward as one camp being pro-US and another pro-China. The trilateral relationships of the US-EU-China and China-US-Russia will create pendulum swings.