Foreign policy

(From left) Taro Kono, Fumio Kishida, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda hold papers with their mottos before a debate ahead of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s presidential election at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan, on 18 September 2021. (Eugene Hoshiko/Bloomberg)

How will the Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election affect Japan's China policy?

With Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga stepping down, whoever wins the Liberal Democratic Party leadership race is practically assured of becoming the next prime minister. But with four experienced politicians on the cards, including two women, who will it be? And how will the choice of the next prime minister affect Japan's policy towards China? Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the possibilities.
A police barricade is seen in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)

AUKUS: Aggravating tensions and dividing the world

Australia, the US and the UK recently launched the enhanced trilateral security partnership “AUKUS”. American academic Zhu Zhiqun believes that AUKUS is divisive and serves the interests of the US military-industrial complex. It has also raised the stakes in China’s threat perceptions, given the unspoken target of the grouping. And now that Australia has picked a side, how will power dynamics play out in the Indo-Pacific region? Will China also seek alliances to strengthen itself?
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 28 June 2021. (Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russia and China in Southeast Asia: Pragmatic cooperation against US primacy

Russia-China relations are at a historic high due to mutual concerns over US primacy, economic synergies and strong interpersonal ties between their national leaders. However, despite deepening military cooperation and closer diplomatic coordination, a formal alliance between Russia and China is not likely as this would constrain their strategic autonomy and undercut key foreign policy narratives. The South China Sea dispute is the most complex issue and a potential fault line in Russia-China relations in Southeast Asia. While Moscow has been broadly supportive of China’s position, Beijing’s jurisdictional claims threaten Russia’s lucrative energy interests in Southeast Asia.
Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's president, attends a commissioning ceremony for a new Ta Chiang guided-missile corvette in Suao, Yilan County, Taiwan, on 9 September 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Serious consequences if Washington allows renaming of Taiwan’s US office

The US is reportedly considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in Washington from “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” to “Taiwan Representative Office”. What are the implications, and is it likely to happen? Political scientist Zhu Zhiqun examines the situation.
People queue to board a tourist bus before a display showing a US flag in Times Square in New York City, US on 30 July 2021. (Ed Jones/AFP)

Chinese academic: It’s time to make the US safe for the world

The US has said that withdrawing from Afghanistan will give it more bandwidth to deal with Russia and its “serious competitor” China. The latter in particular, has become a key target. Chinese academic Wang Zhengxu asserts that the US should learn from its Afghanistan experience that the military option should only be used in self-defence. If it gets involved in China’s core concerns and insists on building an anti-China alliance, China will bristle and regional instability can only increase.
People celebrate in the streets with members of Guinea's armed forces after the arrest of Guinea's president, Alpha Conde, in a coup d'etat in Conakry, Guinea, 5 September 2021. (Cellou Binani/AFP)

Guinea coup: Why did non-interventionist China speak up?

Many were caught off-guard when China made forceful statements against the military coup in Guinea. Hasn't China always been circumspect and asked countries to resolve their internal issues well in past such cases? Perhaps Guinea being China’s leading source of bauxite for its aluminum industry is a key motivation. Or perhaps it is a case of finally feeling the need to step up to a greater international role? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
US Vice President Kamala Harris (second from left) prepares to depart Vietnam at Noi Bai International Airport, following her first official visit to Asia, in Hanoi on 26 August 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/AFP)

US academic: Consequences if Southeast Asia fails to align with US on China policy

The Biden administration has sought to re-engage with Southeast Asia, but there are limits to how much traction it can get in the region. And if Southeast Asian nations continue to not align with the US on countering the challenge posed by China, it is highly likely that Washington will shift its focus to like-minded actors who will coordinate with it.
Taliban fighters gather along a street during a rally in Kabul, Afghanistan on 31 August 2021. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP)

The future of China-Afghanistan relations: Lessons from history

Ma Haiyun asserts that parallels between current events and Afghan geopolitics in the mid to late 18th century reveal the complexity of Afghanistan’s historical relations and the delicacy of contemporary Afghan-China relations. Even if an economy-for-security approach is used, various conditions will need to be met as China and other countries tread lightly.
The Lithuanian Embassy in Beijing on 10 August 2021, as China demanded Lithuania to recall its envoy to Beijing. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Japanese academic: The politics behind the name 'Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania'

While Beijing has objected strongly to the Lithuanian government's move of allowing Taiwan to open a representative office under the name “Taiwan” rather than “Taipei”, Taiwan has lashed out at “autocratic” Beijing, saying that its ties with Lithuania are based on the shared values of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Japanese academic Shin Kawashima examines the names of Taiwan's overseas offices and of various countries' offices in Taiwan, analysing the subtleties behind the different naming conventions.