Energy resources

Taiwan Armed Forces soldiers crew a CM-11 Brave Tiger main battle tank during a military combat live-fire exercise in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 21 December 2021. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

If China strikes Taiwan, can it bear the punishment from the US and its allies? 

Cross-strait relations look set to remain tense, with mainland China increasing its military might and the US continuing to provide support to Taiwan, says Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim. But despite the rhetoric, the mainland will be cautious. Even if Beijing can launch a first strike, the US and its allies will give a formidable response, not forgetting that they are in a position to choke off China’s energy supply route through the Indian Ocean and Strait of Malacca.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects an honour guard at a welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 22 September 2013. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters)

China's regulatory clampdowns: Masterful moves or persistent mistakes?

China has implemented regulatory clampdowns at lightning speed across various industries. Reactions to these new policies and directives have been mixed. Some people approve of the Chinese central government's decisive actions to address societal ills and problems, hailing them as part of a grand master plan. Others are sceptical, thinking China is repeating the same old mistakes of using Chinese-style mobilisation methods and creating a grand illusion that the top leadership has the future mapped out and everything under control. Comparing China's counter-pandemic and carbon reduction efforts, economist Chen Kang examines the problems of the Chinese bureaucratic system and the issues that may go wrong when the government runs grand campaigns.
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.
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.
Demonstrators take part in a march against nuclear power ahead of a referendum on whether the government should continue building the stalled Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, in Taipei, Taiwan, 5 December 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

Taiwanese wavering over referendum on Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

Given Taiwan’s energy needs, the debate over nuclear energy is being revived, with discussions over whether the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City should be resumed. The ruling party DPP is advocating for a “No” vote and the KMT vice versa. But concerns of nuclear safety overshadow the debate and the referendum on 18 Dec, which will be one among four to be held on different issues. The outcome will be telling of the public’s political leanings and prospects for the future of Taiwan’s energy policies.
An algae reef zone is seen before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives for an inspection at the coast of the Guanyin district in Taoyuan on 25 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan’s algal reef referendum: A proxy for political battle?

The Datan algal reef off Taoyuan in Taiwan is rich with biodiversity, and a natural barrier for Taiwan. However, plans for a third LNG terminal in the area have turned the reef into a political point of contention, with conservationists wanting to protect the reef and the Taiwan government having to consider energy demands. A KMT-supported referendum on whether the terminal should be moved away from the reef, along with three other referendums on pork imports, nuclear power and future referendums, will also be held on 18 December. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong examines the political undertones behind the environmental concerns.
A person looks towards cranes in front of the skyline of the central business district (CBD) in Beijing, China, 18 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Can China pull itself out of the economic doldrums?

China was the only major economy to expand in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world. But its regulatory whirlwind over the past year has created uncertainties and headwinds for the economy. Caixin tells us the five key things to watch for as the world’s second-largest economy ploughs through the final quarter of the year.
People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 12 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Is a zero-Covid policy adversely affecting China’s economic recovery?

In the face of some turbulence in China’s economic indicators lately, academic Xu Le looks at certain bright spots amid falling aggregate demand and aggregate supply for a realistic gauge of China’s economic prospects in the coming months.
Tourists wearing face masks walk along Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, on 20 October 2021. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP)

China’s alliance with Russia is solidifying

Even though several analyses have it that the China-Russia relationship is filled with underlying tensions and can break without warning, Loro Horta believes that the alliance they have can stand the test of time, given a mutual dependency for resources as well as common geopolitical interests and threat perceptions. Instead of warning Russia about China, Washington may want to worry more about the state of its own alliances.