RCEP

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2019, at the start of his week-long visit to China. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Heng Swee Keat: Singapore and China will build better future for region and the world

Ahead of the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meetings between Singapore and China — the first to be held in person since the outbreak of the pandemic — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat sets out a few priorities in taking Singapore-China relations to new heights.
An Electric Multiple Unit high-speed train for a rail link project, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, arrives at Tanjung Priok port during load in Jakarta, Indonesia, 2 September 2022. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

[Future of China] China's ten-year-old BRI needs a revamp

The BRI’s implementation will be slowing down as a result of multiple factors ranging from the global Covid-19 pandemic, the shift in the global geostrategic environment and the Chinese economic slowdown. As it changes its model to suit change, it could focus more on sustainable financing for BRI countries and lower the long-term financial impacts of loans for infrastructure projects. It could also pursue “third-party market cooperation” as a flexible approach in its pursuit of cooperation with other countries under the BRI umbrella. This is the second in a five-part series of articles on the future of China.
US President Joe Biden gestures during the commencement ceremony at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, US, 28 May 2022. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

Biden has good strategies, but can he implement them?

Chinese academic Zhang Jingwei notes that while US President Joe Biden has cast a wider net in building alliances compared with his predecessors, much of these frameworks are lacking in substance. Will the US be able to benefit from them and use them against its strategic rival China?
A member of security personnel stands guard behind a perimeter fence at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on 20 May 2022. (Pawan Sharma/AFP)

India's choice: Pro-US, pro-China or stay autonomous?

With his visit to Asia in May and the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity which includes India, US President Joe Biden clearly seeks to recast the strategic environment in which China operates. On its part, China had earlier launched the Global Security Initiative and is articulating its vision of a changing world order. For India, therefore, the long-term choice is either strategic autonomy, or the role of a pro-US or even pro-China “swing state”.
Pedestrians along Nanjing Road near the Bund in Shanghai, China, on 27 February 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Chinese membership in the CPTPP: Greater benefits than downside risks

A study has shown that if China joins the CPTPP, global income gains from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will quadruple to US$632 billion annually. With an eye to the economic benefits, a majority of Southeast Asians view China's membership of the CPTPP positively, the 2022 State of Southeast Asia survey report finds. ISEAS researcher Sithanonxay Suvannaphakdy further notes that Chinese membership of the CPTPP will help to ease China-US trade tensions. However, there are concerns about China's ability to abide by the rules of the CPTPP.
Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing delivers a major address on 9 November 2021 at Fullerton Hotel as part of the IISS Fullerton Lectures, a prestigious series of events on regional and global security issues organised by IISS–Asia. (SPH)

Chan Chun Sing: Singapore amid great power rivalry

Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing gave the speech titled "Singapore amid Great Power Rivalry" at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Fullerton Lecture on 9 November 2021. He said countries around the world possess some agency even amid great power competition, and Singapore can work together with like-minded partners to help build a better world. And while the US and China might feel their differences sharply, there could be more common interests between them than they would probably want to acknowledge, as both countries share a single global system and biosphere with the rest of the world. Here is the full transcript of his speech.
Workers produce adhesive tapes for flexible printed circuits (FPC) at a factory in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China, on 15 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

How can China benefit from the CPTPP?

China has made it clear that it wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will allow it to strengthen its image as an advocate of free trade, gain some cover from future sanctions by the US, and most importantly, spur domestic reform. Academic Gu Qingyang delves into the topic.
People walk in Qianmen street in Beijing, China, on 21 September 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Mainland China and Taiwan: The political hot potato of their CPTPP bids

Soon after mainland China put in its official application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Taiwan followed suit. The CPTPP is an agreement forged between 11 members sans the US when the latter withdrew from the then Transnational Pacific Partnership (TPP). Joining it would require tough internal changes from both mainland China or Taiwan. Who is more committed to the needed reforms? But does that even matter when it will be the political signature that counts from here on? Incoming CPTPP chair Singapore will have its work cut out.
A general view shows the Lujiazui financial district (left) in Shanghai, China, on 22 September 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China joining the CPTPP: It's a matter of time

Zhang Rui analyses that there are more pros than cons to China’s entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) whether one looks at it from China’s individual economy, regional industrial chains or global income gains. However, sizeable obstacles stand in the way of its entry, not least US-led political roadblocks, even if the latter is not currently a member of the reconfigured CPTPP. China’s internal system and regulations will also have to change to meet the rigours of the high-standard CPTPP. Can China play the long game and will the world truly move closer towards Asia-Pacific economic integration?