BRI

China's President Xi Jinping and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on 16 November 2022. (Willy Kurniawan/AFP)

China's 'international united front' diplomacy: When staying neutral means a win for China

Taiwanese academic Chiung-Chiu Huang explains the concept of China’s “international united front” strategy which remains a guiding principle today. By using this softly-softly approach that seeks common ground and low-hanging fruit, China has managed its relations with countries it deems not outrightly hostile. In doing so, it may not win friends, but it may at least make fewer enemies.
President Xi Jinping of China (left) is greeted by the President of the Indonesian Republic Joko Widodo during the formal welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of the G20 Summit on 15 November 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. (Leon Neal/Pool via Reuters)

Indonesian elites and the general public have different views of China

Presidents Xi Jinping and Joko Widodo witnessed the test "ride" of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail (HSR) via livestream during Chinese President Xi's visit to Indonesia for the G20 Summit in Bali. Economic cooperation remain high on the cards of bilateral relations, but while China’s trade and investment in Indonesia have grown substantially since the early 2000s, the Indonesian public does not share Jakarta’s desire to wholeheartedly embrace Beijing.
A screen grab from a video featuring the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway. (Internet)

Easy highway, troubled city: How China wins and loses Cambodians’ hearts

Two China-driven projects show striking contrasts. The newly opened Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has been well-received by Cambodians. But grand plans for Sihanoukville to be an investment hub and “multi-purpose” city have instead seen Chinese businesses crowding out locals, a boom-bust cycle in construction and illicit trades.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (left) with Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, on 22 May 2019, at the start of his week-long visit to China. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Heng Swee Keat: Singapore and China will build better future for region and the world

Ahead of the 18th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meetings between Singapore and China — the first to be held in person since the outbreak of the pandemic — Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat sets out a few priorities in taking Singapore-China relations to new heights.
Workers at a construction site for the World Expo Cultural Park in Shanghai, China, on 27 September 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's slowing economy will not deter BRI outreach

Despite challenges arising from the slowing Chinese economy, China is likely to continue pushing forward on the BRI, it being a key plank of President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy. Along the way, however, it will have to make certain adjustments for a smooth transition into BRI 2.0.
China's President Xi Jinping and Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pose for a picture during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 15 September 2022. (Press service of the President of Uzbekistan/Handout via Reuters)

Can China be both economic and security guarantor in Central Asia?

Central Asia is a linchpin between Eurasia and Southeast Asia and a strategic node in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping notably visited Central Asia in his first foreign visit in over two years. But while China’s economic engagement is welcome in the region, it is currently not a confident security provider. Could things change in the near future?
An Electric Multiple Unit high-speed train for a rail link project, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, arrives at Tanjung Priok port during load in Jakarta, Indonesia, 2 September 2022. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters)

[Future of China] China's ten-year-old BRI needs a revamp

The BRI’s implementation will be slowing down as a result of multiple factors ranging from the global Covid-19 pandemic, the shift in the global geostrategic environment and the Chinese economic slowdown. As it changes its model to suit change, it could focus more on sustainable financing for BRI countries and lower the long-term financial impacts of loans for infrastructure projects. It could also pursue “third-party market cooperation” as a flexible approach in its pursuit of cooperation with other countries under the BRI umbrella. This is the second in a five-part series of articles on the future of China.
Labourers work on the construction site for a school, part of the Iraq-China "oil for construction" deal, in the Sumer neighbourhood of Nasiriyah city, in Iraq's southern Dhi Qar province, on 20 July 2022. (Asaad Niazi/AFP)

[Future of China] China’s BRI seems irreplaceable, for now

East Asian Institute academic Yu Hong analyses the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, an update from the earlier Build Back Better World Initiative. With the aim of mobilising up to US$600 billion over the next five years, it is a much more robust effort to counter China’s BRI. But will such heft be enough? This is the first in a five-part series of articles on the future of China.
A worker in a protective suit stands near commuters at a subway station in Shanghai, China, 2 June 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

[State of our world] Is the world really heading into disorder?

Shutting out the din of international debates on US-China competition, Professor Zha Daojiong puts perspective on changing global dynamics, asserting that China is circumspect about its place in the world and the prospect of decoupling is further than people think. Besides, other players, albeit smaller ones, hold sway over the changing global order too. This is the first in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.