AUKUS

People ride on scooters across a street during morning rush hour, in Beijing, China, 2 August 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

[State of our world] The world will be very different from the one we're used to

In a changed world post-pandemic and against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Asia will face pressure from competing minilateral coalitions amid the breakdown of multilateralism and the weakening global and regional institutions. This time, it may not be so easy not to take sides, says Professor C. Raja Mohan. This is the second in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong with the ASEAN Committee of Permanent Representatives at the ASEAN Secretariat, 6 June 2022. (Twitter/@SenatorWong)

'Hard yakka' ahead for Australia and ASEAN relations

Australia has made significant inroads in its engagement with ASEAN. But Canberra’s relationship with the grouping will be a hard slog, given their differences in approaching China and ensuring that China-US rivalry does not derail regional aspirations. In the meantime, Australia remains involved with the US in groupings including AUKUS and the Quad, maintaining relations with Japan and India.
A screen shows a CCTV state media news broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the BRICS Business Forum via video link, at a shopping center in Beijing, China, 23 June 2022. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Can the BRICS reinvent itself?

In an age where any global economic agenda is hardly viewed outside the prism of geopolitics, it would take enormous resolve for BRICS to make an impactful comeback on the global stage, says ISAS academic Amitendu Palit.
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?
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?
People cycle on a road at the central business district in Beijing, China, 16 May 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Xi’s Global Security Initiative: In pursuit of China’s own interests and ambitions

Indian academic Amrita Jash believes that China’s proposal of the Global Security Initiative was made primarily out of its own interests and the world is left no more convinced that it can be a responsible stakeholder in the international system.
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 participates in the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the US State Department in Washington, DC, US, on 13 May 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

Finland and Sweden today, Southeast Asia tomorrow?

With Finland and Sweden applying to join NATO, some in Asia are asking if Southeast Asian countries will follow suit and seek an alliance with “like-minded” powers. Malaysian academics Kuik Cheng-Chwee, Abdul Razak Ahmad and Lai Yew Meng explain why such realignment is unlikely in Asia (for now).
Soldiers of People's Liberation Army (PLA) are seen before a giant screen as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, China, 1 October 2019. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Global Security Initiative — China’s solution to international security?

At the Boao Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forth the Global Security Initiative which has the concept of “indivisible security” at its core. Is this China’s answer to breaking up “small cliques” in international relations and seeking to build a community of common destiny for mankind?