Foreign policy

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, on 6 December 2021. (Money Sharma/AFP)

India and Russia remain on opposite sides of the Indo-Pacific’s balance of power

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to New Delhi should be seen as one of correcting the downward slide in India-Russia relations rather than a celebration of an age-old strategic partnership, says Yogesh Joshi. Against the backdrop of a rising China, India feels the threat of strengthening Russia-China relations and the latter’s engagement of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, India-US relations have taken on greater strategic significance, and Russia may be wary of India’s involvement in the Quad. With divergent national interests and threat perceptions likely to continue, will it be harder for both powers to find themselves on the same side?
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and related Joint Steering Council (JSC) meetings on 8 December 2020. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Singapore DPM: Singapore can help to better connect China with Southeast Asian markets

In this op-ed in conjunction with the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) which will take place on 29 December, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat examines how Singapore-China relations go beyond the pandemic, into areas including digital connectivity, green energy efforts, economy and trade, and even "panda diplomacy". These efforts will bring the two countries closer together in the next chapter of bilateral relations.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen gestures from an upgraded US-made F-16V fighter during a ceremony at the Chiayi Air Base in Taiwan on 18 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Why Taiwan is unperturbed about Nicaragua cutting ties and switching allegiance to Beijing

Zheng Weibin notes Taiwan’s unperturbed response to Nicaragua switching its allegiance to Beijing, the eighth such reversal since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2008. In his analysis, the US in practice treats Taiwan differently, despite its purported adherence to the “one China” policy and is swaying others to do so. In light of such support, there is no need for Taiwan to chase after symbolic diplomatic recognition.
Climate change activists wearing masks depicting images of world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, take part in a "Squid Game" themed demonstration near the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), the venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on 2 November 2021. (Andy Buchanan/AFP)

Will China-US cooperation go beyond climate change?

Chen Gang sees that rather than an end in itself, climate change can be a springboard for China and the US to deepen cooperation in other areas. This is by virtue of the fact that climate change is often intertwined with issues relating to the economy, trade and foreign policy. Facets of climate change cooperation will have spillover effects that could lead to tariff reductions, investments and greater technology collaborations.
This general view shows the headquarters of SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company based in Hong Kong on 13 December 2021, after the company postponed a planned US$767 million initial public offering after it was blacklisted by the US over human rights concerns in Xinjiang. (Peter Parks/AFP)

China's AI giant SenseTime blacklisted: Is China-US financial decoupling taking place?

The US government has seemingly pulled the rug from under the feet of SenseTime by putting it on a blacklist just a week before its planned IPO, effectively blocking US funding from the AI company. But while the official reason is human rights issues in Xinjiang, perhaps the real reason is the ongoing tech competition between the US and China. If so, it seems that the US has found another lever with which to pressure China — curtailing investment.
US President Joe Biden delivers opening remarks for the virtual Summit for Democracy in the South Court Auditorium on 9 December 2021 in Washington, DC, US. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

A low-confidence US, an unconvincing democracy summit

In the wake of the first Summit for Democracy held online on 9-10 December, US academic Zhu Zhiqun questions the objectives and outcomes of the summit. He observes that reactions to the summit have largely been critical. The US needs to get its own house in order before it can have a deciding global influence on the debate. Otherwise, by playing up ideological differences, it is simply marking out another area in which the US and China agree to disagree.
A screen displays trading information for ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, 3 December 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Will China concept stocks pull out of the US completely?

Amid recent news of Chinese ride-hailing company Didi delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that China seems to be closing a regulatory loophole allowing companies to sidestep the Chinese authorities and get listed overseas. In turn, the US is taking action to require audit checks on Chinese companies that are already listed or want to get listed in the US. Is this a sign of financial decoupling between the US and China or will both sides reach an agreement on regulations?
This aerial picture taken on 16 October 2021 shows trucks loaded with coal waiting near Gants Mod port at the Chinese border with Gashuun Sukhait, in Umnugovi province, in Mongolia. (Uugansukh Byamba/AFP)

Between a rock and a hard place: Mongolia’s ambivalent relations with China

Sandwiched between Russia to the north and China to the south, landlocked Mongolia has always had tough choices to make in its foreign policy strategies. Towards China, which it used to be a part of and continues to share kinship ties with the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia, it harbours historical suspicion. But with China being its top export destination and key investment partner, the head may rule the heart.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and his wife, Peng Liyuan. (Internet)

Chinese local government’s two-day seminar on ‘first lady diplomacy’ backfires

A congratulatory letter by Peng Liyuan, spouse of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on the inauguration of the new Tianjin Juilliard School may have been viewed as a warm gesture if it was allowed to stay as such. Instead, Tianjin officials organised a two-day seminar and forum urging participants to “learn from the Peng Liyuan spirit”, which ended up drawing flak. A case of less is more?