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A picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping overlook a street ahead of the National People's Congress (NPC), in Shanghai, China, 1 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The US gets it wrong again

Rishi Gupta gives a critique of the strategy paper “The Longer Telegram: Toward a New American China Strategy”, by “Anonymous”, which was recently published by the Atlantic Council. He says that judging from the paper and several other important geostrategic content released by the US recently, the US has not read the situation in China and its leadership correctly, and hence has a skewed understanding of how it can draw strength globally to compete with its "most serious competitor".
This file picture taken on 5 September 2018 shows flags from the Pacific Islands countries being displayed in Yaren on the last day of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). (Mike Leyral/AFP)

Power struggles and Chinese influence in the Pacific Island region

The Pacific Island Forum (PIF) has undergone some intense internal power struggle recently, and the region is also subjected to rising global geopolitical competition and tension. In fact, the "Taiwan-China conflict is virulent in this region", says former German diplomat Dr Anne-Marie Schleich.
A woman holds the US and China flags at a Lunar New Year ceremony in Chinatown on 12 February 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/AFP)

China must understand the 'tragedy complex' of Biden's team

Understanding the psyche of Biden’s team will help China in its strategic calculations. First of all, members of Biden’s inner circle are different from the hawkish officials in the Trump administration, but they do have a “tragedy complex” that could leave them expecting the worst to happen. Could the upcoming China-US dialogue in Alaska be a first step towards re-orienting bilateral relations? Switzerland-based academic Xiang Lanxin takes a look at the factors at play.
Pedestrians and cyclists stand in front of a screen showing an advertisement for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing, China, on 5 March 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China-US strategic showdown: Will the east wind prevail over the west wind?

The 21st century sees the convergence of the Chinese socialist system and its American capitalist counterpart across the global arena, and that convergence is a critical turning point in history, says Zhu Ying. With China exhibiting real muscle on the international stage, the US must prove that the democratic system will prevail. To do this, it must not only get its house in order, but offer credible solutions to the world.
Protesters hold signs with an image of Aung San Suu Kyi as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on 22 February 2021. (Sai Aung Main/AFP)

A rising China needs to demonstrate moral courage on Myanmar issue

Thinking along the lines of moral realism, a concept espoused by Professor Yan Xuetong, dean of the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, China can enhance its international esteem by establishing its moral and strategic credibility on the Myanmar issue, says Professor He Baogang.
This handout photo taken on 13 January 2021 by Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs shows Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) meeting with Indonesian Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investments Minister Luhut Pandjaitan in Parapat, on the edge of Lake Toba in North Sumatra, to discuss cooperation on investments. (Handout/Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs/AFP)

Wang Yi’s Southeast Asia tour: How China woos Southeast Asia in view of US-China competition

In January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited several ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an effort to push for collaboration in key projects under the BRI, and providing access to Chinese vaccines. However, Beijing’s passage of a new coastguard law has undermined Wang Yi’s outreach efforts. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook explains what is behind China's efforts and looks into its implications.
In this file photo taken on 8 November 2020, supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party wave flags, with the car bearing an image of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in front of the party's office in Mandalay. (Ye Naing Ye/AFP)

Myanmar: Why the US lost to China a long time ago

​In Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao’s analysis, China’s strategic priority after the South China Sea is the Indian Ocean, and it is getting its ducks in a row by winning over key nodes such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Myanmar coup has made it distinctly clear that while the West has been obsessed with Aung San Suu Kyi as a beacon of democracy, the Chinese have been steadily advancing in influence over Myanmar. More than any calls the US and their allies can make, it is China’s move, or not, which can have a significant impact.
Myanmar citizens living in India hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar, in New Delhi, India, 5 February 2021. (Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters)

India needs a united, democratic Myanmar outside China's strategic orbit. Can that happen?

In recent decades, India’s engagement with Myanmar has been shaped by Delhi’s growing regional contestation with Beijing as well as its growing strategic partnership with the US. As a close neighbour with clear stakes in the region, India has to tread carefully. In the aftermath of Myanmar’s latest military coup, how will it tread even more lightly, neither helping to drive Myanmar into the arms of China, nor forsaking the values it shares with allies such as the US?
A man wearing a face mask walks past a dragon head decoration outside a mall in Bangkok on 21 January 2021. (Romeo Gacad/AFP)

Land Bridge in place of Kra Canal: Game changer for Thailand's future engagement with region and China?

The idea of the Kra Canal, prevalent in the 18th and 19th centuries, resurfaced in the late 1990s as the Khlong Thai or “Thai Canal” idea. However, the high investment costs, massive and unpredictable adverse environmental impacts, and security implications have all weighed against its realisation. A mega project proposal that envisions building a “Land Bridge” between Chumphon Province on the Gulf of Thailand and an enlarged deep-sea port in Ranong Province on the Andaman Sea has now been touted, supported by the Prayut administration. Academic Termsak Chalermpalanupap examines the options.