The Pan-Asia Railway, meant to stretch from Kunming to Singapore, is seen by China as one of the crown jewels of its Belt and Road Initiative. While the project has seen early success in Laos, stronger Southeast Asian countries are pushing back against Beijing’s plans.
China’s growing appetite for seafood has led to fundamental changes in the global fishing industry, with ramifications for regional security. With every step it takes in fishing policy, the Chinese government must balance its need for food security with environmental and diplomatic concerns.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative seems to focus on connections with Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. But the country’s economic future is really in “netware” technology, similar to America’s. Contrary to how BRI is viewed and talked about now, China’s more profitable path actually points, as illuminated by the likes of Alibaba and Tencent, eastward to California.
Spearheaded by India and Japan, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor aims to improve intercontinental connectivity. But, as of now, this competing plan to China’s Belt and Road Initiative is only a proposition. To make it a reality, India and Japan must enlist the EU.
Despite suspicions, China's engagement in developing Africa's telecom infrastructure has not led to an imposition of an authoritarian model of information control on the continent. Concerns should rather focus on the promotion of a top-down governmental model of development, which has proved inefficient.
The world is once again in dismay after the use of chemical weapons was reported in Douma. In response, the U.S. struck, together with the UK and France, chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 13 and 14. The stated purpose was to uphold international law, but the action could have far-reaching—and destabilizing—consequences.
The leaders of the ASEAN countries are set to meet in Singapore between April 25th and 28th. With the region feeling the effects of great power competition, it might be time to remember and revive the pacifying role Southeast Asia played in trade, people, and religious exchanges over the centuries.
Following the flurry of political announcements and promotions at the 2018 National People's Congress, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China released a Plan on Deepening Reform of Party and State Institutions. These reforms elevate foreign policy and aim to make institutions more efficient as interfaces between the Chinese Communist Party and global integration.
Last month, the first session of China's 13th National People's Congress enacted a much discussed constitutional change, opening up a path for Xi Jinping to be president for life. Beyond this spectacular measure, promotions and appointments indicate the direction of the winds for China's foreign partners and competitors.
In tandem with China’s rise, America's geopolitical predominance in Asia has been waning, and this decline in influence has accelerated under the presidency of Donald Trump. Looking further ahead, however, it is not obvious that this "new normal" will be sustained in light of America’s deep economic and security interests in Asia and China’s fundamental fragilities.
North Korea has agreed to march alongside South Korea and to have a joint women’s hockey team with its neighbor at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. The sports diplomacy of North Korea is often unpredictable, but could this particular instance signal a geopolitical détente in an East Asia gripped by nuclear fears?
The continents-spanning Belt and Road Initiative may appear to be a leviathan, but a closer look at both it and China’s global quest for resources tells a more nuanced story. Even for the most authoritative of actors, situations don’t always work out as they do on paper.