Southeast Asia

A general view of the city skyline in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2 February 2021. (Lim Huey Teng/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s divided image in Malaysia

In a recent poll conducted by Malaysia’s Merdeka Center and the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, public perception of China seems to have improved slightly from the last time a similar survey was done in 2016. That said, opinions are divided among ethnic groups and hinge on a few deciding factors.
Staff members walk past a logo of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on 27 May 2022. (AFP)

China tech companies draw up war plans for ASEAN battleground

In the second of a seven-part Lianhe Zaobao-Business Times series on China and ASEAN, Zaobao senior correspondent Chew Boon Leong looks at the strategies adopted and challenges faced by China’s tech companies in Southeast Asia.
US President Joe Biden speaks with members of the media before boarding Marine One for a weekend in Rehoboth, Delaware, at the White House in Washington, US, 17 June 2022. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

US sets up strategic obstacles against 'autocratic' China

Political commentator William He notes that the Biden administration is clear and sharp with its China policy and strategy. It is setting up strategic obstacles to contain "autocratic" China, addressing long-term fundamental issues such as the right to speak on global values and order, and maintaining the lead in military powers and forming alliances.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen on a giant screen as he delivers a speech at the event marking the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China, 1 July 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China’s pragmatic party diplomacy in Southeast Asia

The Chinese Communist Party’s outreach to political parties in Southeast Asia, regardless of ideology, underscores the pragmatism in President Xi Jinping’s plan for regional influence. From issues of the economy to human rights, the CCP is clearly seeking to counter the Western narrative and improve its image in Southeast Asia.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Police stand guard near the parliament building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 17 May 2022. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP)

Families that rule: Thoughts about Asia's political landscape

The political environment in Asia has been marked with upheavals and instability. While each country has their own system of democratic elections in the modern sense, they appear to share a number of common themes that resembles the backward political practices of 19th century Europe. Academic Chen Liujun assesses the regional developments.