Iran

Volunteers transport the coffins of Chinese nationals from a hospital following a suicide attack in Besham city in the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, on 26 March 2024. (Omar Bacha/AFP)

From Pakistan to Afghanistan, China grappling with rising terrorist threats

Academic Alessandro Arduino observes that the spike in violence along the route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is reviving concerns about the "three evils" — terrorism, separatism and extremism — which China, Russia and the Central Asian republics have feared since the inception of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Houthi fighters brandish their weapons as they rally during an anti-Israel and anti-US rally in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, Yemen, on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

[Big read] Global anxiety as Houthis hold Red Sea in chokehold

As the Red Sea crisis goes on, with the Houthis targeting this key shipping route due to various geopolitical factors, logistics companies have to think of alternatives to move goods around the world.
A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on 22 January 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (AFP)

Chinese academic: The Middle East today is not in a worse state

Academic Fan Hongda argues that viewed against its modern history filled with contradictions and struggles, the Middle East is not in a worse state today, despite the recent rise in military operations in a short span of time.
A man holds a portrait of slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani on 5 January 2024 in the Iranian capital Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Terrorist attack in Iran sends shockwaves closer to China’s borders

With the latest 4 January bombing in Iran by the Islamic State, likely by the ISKP (Islamic State Khorasan Province) branch of the grouping, China is facing a renewed threat of one of its greatest fears: terrorism connecting the Middle East and Central Asia.
Yemenis brandishing their guns chant slogans during a march in solidarity with the people of Gaza, in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on 15 December 2023. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP)

Bleak prospects for international cooperation to address Houthi Red Sea attacks

Reflecting on the rise of the Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea beyond targets “linked to the Zionist entity”, academic Alessandro Arduino points out that in light of current US-China tensions in the Indo-Pacific, compounded by the polarisation of the Gaza conflict, prospects for successful multinational cooperation in addressing the ongoing maritime crisis seem bleak.
Smoke rises during an Israeli military bombardment of the northern Gaza Strip on 15 November 2023, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. (Fadel Senna/AFP)

Israel-Hamas war testing credibility of China's Middle East strategy

Amid China's diplomatic efforts such as a visit to Beijing by Arab and Islamic countries this week, the Israel-Hamas war is bringing about a much-needed reality check on China's ambitions in the Middle East, says Jean-Loup Samaan, a senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.
Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on at the China-Africa Leaders' Roundtable Dialogue on the last day of the BRICS Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 August 2023. (Alet Pretorius/Pool/Reuters)

BRICS expansion a sign of shifting global governance and security architecture

The world's map of global governance and security architecture is shifting, and BRICS is heeding the call for change, says academic Alessandro Arduino. Countries like Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who have just been invited to join BRICS, seek to diversify their strategic options. This is in line with China's outreach to the global south and Russia’s need to combat international isolation, but the other BRICS members may have some hesitation.
From left: Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, China's President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raise their arms as they pose for a group photograph, at the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on 23 August 2023. (Alet Pretorius/Pool/AFP)

BRICS expansion ups ante but can the momentum be sustained?

It would be a mistake to think that the soon-to-be 11-member BRICS would unite to become a formidable coordinating force at the international level, says Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with Chinese special envoy for Eurasian affairs Li Hui in Moscow, Russia, 26 May 2023. (Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via Reuters)

Peacemaker role in Russia-Ukraine war could be a historic milestone for China

China’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs Li Hui's trip to Europe and Russia to discuss the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis could be a historic milestone for China, says academic Yuan Hang. The country has far played a marginal role in the shaping of European security affairs in the past century, but this could all change if recent approaches are sustained.