Foreign policy

Quad summit leaders US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kantei Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2022. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

India in Quad: Black sheep or dark horse

The joint statement issued following the Quad leaders’ summit in Tokyo on 24 May neither condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nor committed the quartet to imposing economic sanctions on Russia. The twin failure or reluctance was largely attributed to India’s unwillingness to jeopardise its deep ties to Russia. But even before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, analysts have been describing India as an “outlier” in the group. Is India really the weakest link, or will it eventually emerge as the keystone in the quartet?
China's State Councilor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe walks to attend a bilateral meeting with U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, 10 June 2022. (Caroline Chia/Reuters)

Framing China’s actions: From ‘assertive’ to ‘aggressive’

US-led Western rhetoric has not been friendly to China, with “assertive” being the operative word. However, at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, that term was “upgraded” to “aggressive”, prompting a strong response from China. Is this portrayal deserved and are tensions likely to persist in the region? What should the ASEAN countries’ response be?
A visitor holds his mobile phone near a screen showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan Parlor Convention Center in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 31 December 2020. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's softening stance on its ‘no limits’ relations with Russia

The lateral move of “Russia expert” Le Yucheng from the Chinese foreign ministry to the National Radio and Television Administration is undoubtedly a career setback for the man once tipped to be the next foreign minister. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong explores possible reasons for the move and opines that it could indicate Beijing's changing attitude towards Russia and the war in Ukraine.
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) arrives at the convention center with Chief of Malvatumauri National Council Willie Plasua (second from left) after a meeting with the Vanuatu President Tallis Obed Moses in Vanuatu capital city of Port Vila on 1 June 2022. (Photo by ginny stein / AFP)

China gearing up for intense competition in the Pacific

China knows it needs to soften its tone as the US, Australia, New Zealand and others bristle at its interest in the Pacific island countries. The traditional powers are stepping up their game as well. But whether it likes it or not, the region will likely see greater power tussles as the strategic imperatives are simply too great for China to back off completely.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (on screen) addresses participants at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit virtually via a video link in Singapore on 11 June 2022. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Shangri-La Dialogue 2022: The paradox of peace and power

The duel between the ‘rule of law’ and the ‘right of might’ took centre-stage as the Shangri-La Dialogue resumed under the shadow of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Southeast Asian countries found it a hard sell to promote cooperative security and ASEAN’s broad-based mechanisms against tough talk by representatives of the major powers.
China’s General Wei Fenghe and his delegates arrive at Dutch Pavilion at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, for a meeting with his counterparts from the US. (SPH Media)

Shangri-La Dialogue 2022: A tougher diplomatic battle for China?

Given the tough stand of Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe at the previous Shangri-La Dialogue in 2019, and the current tense relations between China and the US, this week’s Shangri-La Dialogue is set to offer some sparks. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong examines some points of contention and what previous rhetoric suggests.
US President Joe Biden and Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attend the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity with other regional leaders via video link at the Izumi Garden Gallery in Tokyo on 23 May 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

‘Doomed to fail’: Chinese media dismisses the US’s ASEAN diplomacy

Various Chinese state media have negatively portrayed Washington’s recent moves to court ASEAN diplomatically and economically, but the one-sided narrative that Beijing trots out belies the region’s careful management of both great powers amidst their growing rivalry.
Pins showing Taiwan are seen at a pro-independent book store in Taipei, Taiwan, 24 May 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Why it’s right that US policy on Taiwan has not changed

US academic Wu Guo explains that the US and China have fundamentally different interpretations of the “one China” principle and of the US’s adherence to its “one China” policy. To the Americans, Taiwan’s status has always been unsettled, and it has always advocated a peaceful resolution in the interest of regional stability. President Biden’s recent comments simply strongly affirm that.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen participates in the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the US State Department in Washington, DC, on 13 May 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

Cambodia’s surprisingly hardline stance on the Ukraine war

Cambodia’s hearty relations with Russia means that it should have taken a less strident view of the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. Intriguingly, Phnom Penh’s position has tacked closer to Western critics of the Kremlin. Not only did Cambodia support the UNGA's resolution to condemn Russia, but it also co-sponsored it. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has also said he is not afraid to anger Moscow.