RCEP

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?
People visit the promenade on the Bund along the Huangpu River, 1 May 2021, Shanghai, China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Why the world will face a global leadership vacuum

Chen Kang explains why global governance is hard to achieve, not least due to the limited effectiveness of multilateral organisations, the waning willingness of the US to lead in global governance, and the conflicts between global governance and national sovereignty.
A rapidKL train travels along an elevated track above streets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 1 June 2021. (Samsul Said/Bloomberg)

Chinese companies see ASEAN as a bright spot for investment

According to a pulse survey conducted by Standard Chartered, Chinese companies are attracted to ASEAN’s large market and potential as regional production bases. External factors such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP) could also funnel greater Chinese investment into the region in areas such as high-value manufacturing, energy and digital services.