Thirty years after student protests flooded Tiananmen Square in 1989, political contestation ramified into three interconnected threats identified by the country’s political leadership as “three evils” – that is, terrorism, separatism and religious extremism. Despite assuming different forms, the three evils are eradicated in the common element of defiance of the Communist ruling over the country.
The current trade war between the US and China looks like a small piece in a much larger puzzle over world leadership in which China plays the part of the ascending challenger seeking to upset the existing balance of power. Technology and innovation seem to be Beijing’s weapons of choice in its frontal assault on Washington in sectors traditionally led by the US.
While the “decline of the West” is now almost taken for granted, China’s impressive economic performance and the political influence of an assertive Russia in the international arena are combining to make Eurasia a key hub of political and economic power. That, certainly, is the story which Beijing and Moscow have been telling for years. Are the times ripe for a “Eurasian world order”? What exactly does the supposed Sino-Russian challenge to the liberal world entail? Are the two countries’ worsening clashes with the West drawing them closer together?
The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) is a foreign policy dictum presented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016 with the aim of offering an alternative to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). On the one hand, the FOIP promotes connectivity, free trade and infrastructure development across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. On the other, the policy renews Japan’s efforts to uphold a rule-based order.
Many uncertainties exist surrounding the courses that the world’s two top economic powerhouses, the US and China, could take in the future. These uncertainties are significant, for they have the power to influence and shape both the foreign policy pursued by East Asian countries and universal international norms. Of the two, it is China’s future course, which is perennially difficult to predict.
Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy is at the centre of Tokyo’s economic and security strategy in the Indo-Pacific Region. Although Japanese policymakers do not admit to that in public, the FOIP is not only aimed at enabling Tokyo to economically compete with China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) but is also – and indeed equally importantly – ‘about China’, so to speak. Next to what is referred to as ‘Quality Infrastructure’, i.e.
The expansion of Tokyo’s security and defence ties in East, Southeast and South Asia inspired Washington – together with India and Australia – to get on board Tokyo’s strategy to deter or indeed contain China. Japanese policymakers and the pro-defence government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continue to invest enormous political capital and resources into seeking to keep China’s economic, territorial and security ambitions in the region in check.
Ever since the foundation of the 16+1 cooperation platform with Eastern European countries, China has become one of the most influential players in the Balkans too.
China’s Increasing economic presence in the region has led many analysts to focus on the effects of rising Chinese influence. While this is a sound observation, it must necessarily be followed by two questions – to what end is China building its influence in the region and why are Balkan leaders so keen to accept Chinese propositions?
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded at the end of March between China and Italy drove the global community into a frenzy of excitement. Indeed, Italy was the first amongst the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) and the founders of the European Union (EU) to commit to China’s infrastructure projects in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
It has often been stated in the past that with the EU, China likes to divide and rule. But in the new, complex period we are all moving into, for once the case may be that the tables have turned, and now for relations with Europe, China is being divided and ruled.