QUAD

Taiwan Air Force staffers walk past an upgraded US-made F-16 V fighter during a ceremony at the Chiayi Air Force Base in Taiwan on 18 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

US democracy summit: Taipei is invited, Beijing is not included

The upcoming Summit for Democracy led by the US may be yet another test of US-China relations, with the invite list including “Taiwan”, but leaving out mainland China and Russia. Setting up a democracy versus autocracy narrative is part of geopolitical tussling and the US will likely hold on to its Taiwan card. But will this prompt Beijing to dig in its heels on countermeasures against Taiwan?
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.
US President Joe Biden listens as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a 'Quad nations' meeting at the Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework held in the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, 24 September 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

AUKUS and Quad do not solve India's regional security problems

China’s efforts to reap strategic gains in Kabul, in partnership with Pakistan and Russia, are of real concern to India following the US pullout from Afghanistan. Will Beijing reinforce Islamabad’s navy in retaliation for the AUKUS pact? Is an alternative arrangement linking China, Pakistan and Russia emerging to rival the US-led Quad which includes India?
Visitors look at models of military equipment displayed at the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) booth at Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, 28 September 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Taiwan and Indo-Pacific are the primary targets of China’s hypersonic glide vehicle

Recent news that China had launched a rocket carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle sounded an alarm. Mastery of such technology would mean that China would gain speed, manoeuvrability and surprise in their response, and the fine balance among nuclear-armed states could be upset. From China’s perspective, their nuclear deterrent would be more credible and they would be better able to defend their interests vis-à-vis Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific. No matter the intentions, this might mean rattled nerves and an increased presence of US missile defence systems in the Indo-Pacific.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) and Australian Minister for Defence Peter Dutton stand for their national anthems during an honour cordon at the Pentagon on 15 September 2021 in Arlington, Virginia, US. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP)

With AUKUS in place, now what for key players in the Indo-Pacific?

Former German diplomat Dr Anne-Marie Schleich analyses the impact of AUKUS from the perspective of key players in the region. This development sees important ramifications, not only for Australia, which has further thrown in its lot with the US, but for other stakeholders such as the Pacific island countries, who may see their nuclear-free Blue Pacific blueprint thwarted, as well as the European countries, who must decide how they can maintain a strategic presence in the region within the AUKUS framework.
Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, center, during a group photograph with his new cabinet members at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on 4 October 2021. (Stainislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/Bloomberg)

Can Japan rise above faction politics and become the 'bridge to the world' under new PM Kishida?

Fumio Kishida became the new Japanese prime minister despite a relatively weak political base. This shows that faction politics within the Liberal Democratic Party still provided some measure of stability in influencing outcomes. However, public opinion has landed on the side of wanting a leader with the gumption and vision to implement reforms and improve the plight of the Japanese people. But will this new administration be a force for change as the people want, or will the Japanese government go back to the days of having a new prime minister each year? Japan-based academic Zhang Yun takes us through.
US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One to depart Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, Michigan, US, 5 October 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Japanese academic: US moving away from ASEAN centrality to defend its regional interests

With AUKUS and the Quad, Japanese academic Sahashi Ryo argues that the US is seeking to distance itself from the region’s ASEAN-centric mechanisms, despite assurances to the contrary. While both the US and China are working hard to make their presence felt in the region, Ryo says someone is acting out of undue haste and probably needs more time to figure out how to create its desired world order under mounting competition.
Coast guard officers stand on the deck of the Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel 'VIGRAHA' during its commissioning ceremony, in Chennai, India, on 28 August 2021. (Indian Navy/AFP)

With China’s increasing assertiveness, India’s active role in the Indian Ocean matters more than ever

India’s geostrategic location enables it to occupy a central position in the Indian Ocean region, although it has traditionally shown a reluctance to get too involved. This is all changing with China exerting a greater presence in the region and India’s own involvement in the Quad and a greater alignment of its Indian Ocean strategy with the “free and open Indo-Pacific” concept. In the last few years, it has stepped up its aid and outreach missions, as well as military partnerships with various stakeholders in the Indian Ocean. Indian academic Amrita Jash examines the impetus for and extent of India's shift.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a "Quad nations" meeting at the Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework hosted by US President Joe Biden with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the East Room at the White House in Washington, US, 24 September 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Be present but don't fight with China: Can the Quad fulfill this tall order from ASEAN?

In recent years, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), and the "free and open" Indo-Pacific concept that underpins it, have enjoyed forward momentum in response to growing Chinese assertiveness. However, the Quad faces problems gaining support in the region as China remains adamantly opposed to any configuration perceived to curb its emergence while ASEAN fears that its centrality will be undermined by a minilateral arrangement helmed by external powers. What does ASEAN want from the Quad and can these be delivered?