China recognizes that poor governance and lack of transparency of Belt and Road Initiative projects could undermine its strategic interests in Southeast Asia. While Beijing will continue to build economic cooperation networks in the region, China’s interests could collide with those of other major powers, leading to geopolitical storms, which ASEAN member states will have to weather, argues Xue Gong of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has been heralded as both the largest cooperative infrastructure programme in global history and an attempt by Beijing to achieve world domination. In reality, the opportunities and risks are more nuanced, writes George Abonyi, Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Professor, at the Sasin School of Management of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.
Instead of lamenting China’s increasing global influence arising from its Belt and Road Initiative, European countries, especially Germany, should develop their own infrastructure program for emerging Asia-Pacific economies, Heribert Dieter, Associate Professor at Potsdam University and Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, proposes.
The relationships among the United States, China and Japan have emerged as the world’s most important trilateral network. China’s political system and ideology are unlikely to converge with those of the US and Japan, which means mutual distrust will remain for the long term. But with the strong and assured leadership of Prime Minister Abe, Japan could be the lynchpin the keeps US-China relations from going off the rails, writes Yoshikazu Kato, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Asia Global Institute, The University of Hong Kong.
This month, G20 leaders will endorse guiding principles for “quality infrastructure investment”, a priority for Japan. China’s support of these principles signals a willingness to address criticism of its Belt and Road Initiative. China and Japan, rivals in delivering high-speed rail, appear open to collaborating on projects that would meet high sustainability standards, writes Motoko Aizawa, President of the Observatory for Sustainable Infrastructure, who for 12 years headed the Policy and Standards Unit in the Environmental and Social Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
India’s desire to be taken seriously as a major international player is legitimate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s supporters are counting on him to secure the nation’s position as a global power. But his handling of domestic problems and relations with Pakistan and other neighbors raises questions about whether Modi is the man to put India irrevocably on the world map, writes Mumbai-born journalist and author Salil Tripathi.
The governance gap between the US and China - the former focuses on the rule of law, the latter on the rule by the Communist Party - suggests differences in their perceptions of what a rules-based international order should be. This disconnect is better understood by looking at how, at the beginning of the 20th century, lawyer-diplomats took over from military generals in negotiating international treaties, writes Zhiwu Chen, Director of the Asia Global Institute.
The rise in trade tensions between the US and China may be due to the American side’s failure to appreciate the implications of China’s not being a rule-of-law country – that administrative action, not laws on the books, get things done in China, writes Zhiwu Chen, Director of the Asia Global Institute (AGI) and Victor and William Fung Professor in Economics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
Australia faces a range of complex geopolitical and security challenges, which include managing its close strategic and economic ties with the United States and its important trading relationship with China. The unexpected election victory of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s center-right Coalition government means that Canberra is likely to maintain its current foreign and defense policies, writes John Blaxland of Australian National University (ANU).
China’s engagement with the states of the South Pacific Ocean has accelerated in recent years. But while policymakers and academics in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island states increasingly talk about China’s growing influence, Beijing actually operates in the region under a number of constraints and there are limits on the role it can play.
As the dust settles on the Hanoi summit, critics argue that the absence of an agreement between Trump and Kim is a sign that diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea has failed. But even without a roadmap to denuclearization, the summit promotes important goals in these early stages: dialogue, a continued freeze on nuclear testing, and hope for a gradual lifting of economic sanctions.
Since Xi Jinping ascended to the presidency, he has spearheaded a reorientation of China’s major power diplomacy. With China’s foreign policy in the spotlight during the annual meeting of its legislature, Yoshikazu Kato of the Asia Global Institute outlines his thoughts on what this diplomacy is and how it came about.
The Philippines, a major maritime nation, must better protect its resources and exclusive sovereign rights. The South China Sea disputes, where China has exerted increasing dominance over one of the planet’s vital waterways, have been a sorely-needed wakeup call.
China’s strategic approach to foreign policy has changed, and governments need to reorient to this new reality. A look at its actions in Africa reveals how China is employing its status as a great power on the diplomatic stage.
The United States has affirmed strategic competition with both Russia and China as the central organizing principle of its national security policy. The announcement on October 20 by President Donald Trump that the U.S. would withdraw from the 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because of alleged Russian violations might be a key plank of that policy.
Many maritime disputes are motivated by material factors like oil, gas, and fishing stocks. Weaker countries tend to insist on sovereignty claims, at the risk of stretching legal definitions, while those with access to resources are inclined to maintain the status quo. The Timor-Leste-Australia dispute shows how sovereign claims risk weakening the international sea regime.