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China Insights

A Dark ‘n’ Stormy Future for Chinese Economic Coercion?

The opening shots in a Taiwanese trade response to Chinese economic coercion appear to be filled with Lithuanian rum. The Taiwanese National Development Council recently posted on Facebook recipes for “dark ‘n’ stormy” cocktails, French toast, and steak, among other items in an effort to promote consumption of the 20,400 bottles of rum diverted to Taiwan. The large shipment was purchased by the country’s state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) company. While Taiwan’s decision does encourage citizens to try fun new cocktails and recipes, it appears to be primarily a strategy to offset risks for friends and partners in international trade.

Asia Pacific China Natural resources and energy Security

Is food insecurity a looming eventuality in China’s future?

China’s carbon emissions have soared following the reopening of the country after the Covid-19 pandemic. Without a serious reduction, it looks unlikely that China will be able to mitigate the disastrous repercussions these emissions will have on its agricultural industry and food security as a whole. 

China Politics

Concerns over Chinese Data Traps in the Global South

In December 2021 Richard Moore, the MI6 Chief, gave an extremely rare interview to the media. During a broadly focused conversation, he raised concerns around China’s actions, particularly its ability to “harvest data from around the world” focusing on the creation of “Data traps”. 

China Covid-19

Omicron and the Olympics: How long can China’s “Zero-Covid” policy last?

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are particularly important for China and for its leader, President Xi Jinping. The spectacular 2008 Summer Olympics were seen as China’s “coming out party,” a vibrant showcase for the successes of three decades of “reform and opening” and the country’s newfound national confidence and wealth. In a similar fashion, the 2022 Olympic games represent an opportunity for President Xi to demonstrate his successes in office. Perhaps chief among his accomplishments is the highly effective domestic management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Olympics and the Omicron variant of Covid-19 pose a major source of risk to this success.

Asia Pacific China Security

Opinion: Deliberate Ambiguity: A Geostrategic Risk

Chinese military aircraft have dramatically increased their offshore aviation activity near Taiwan since late last year. This tendency has expanded over time to encompass a variety of various kinds of military aircraft, which are often sortied in ever-increasing numbers, mostly to the island’s west and southwest. However, several planes pass via the Taiwan Strait’s midline, which connects the island to mainland China, and almost all of them enter Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). This dramatic surge in Chinese military activity near Taiwan is cause for concern, since it marks an unprecedented combination of activities heightening tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

China Covid-19

An Inwardly Focused Hong Kong: A Strategic Advantage for Singapore?

As Hong Kong’s leadership comes under increasing pressure from Beijing to double-down on its COVID-19 containment strategy, Singapore finds itself in an opportunistic position. Amidst a mass exodus of businesses and expats from Hong Kong, Singapore stands to regain its status as the leading Asian global trade hub through strategically implemented border control measures known as “Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs”), which allow for quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated travellers from an increasing number of major cities and trade hubs. These VTLs remain a crucial lifeline as Singapore moves toward COVID-endemicity.

China Finance International

The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investments (CAI): a piece of the puzzle.

On 30 December 2020, the EU and China announced that they had reached an Agreement in Principle on investments. The text is the result of lengthy negotiations, which started in January 2014. The EU-China CAI was met with fierce criticism from political commentators, who believe the treaty is a “strategic victory” for China and may potentially damage transatlantic relations. However, as usual with international affairs, matters are not always as simple as portrayed and deserve thorough consideration.

China Politics Technology and infrastructure

Technological pull or competitive drive? China’s rover landing sends a message to the United States

On Friday 14th May, China’s Zhurong rover landed on Mars, becoming the first Chinese spacecraft to do so and only the second nation, behind the US, to land a spacecraft successfully on Mars. China hopes their Zhurong rover will give them 90 days of service as it studies the surface of the planet, collecting samples and data. This is an historic moment for China, as they demonstrate yet another arena where they can compete against and match the US. This follows their recent launch of the initial part of China’s first permanent space station, as they push to become technological leaders in a world where technology has become sovereign.

China Economics

China’s Plan for the Post-Pandemic World Order: The Dual Circulation Strategy

On the 5th of February, 2021, China’s National People’s Congress passed the fourteenth five-year economic plan (14FYP) from 2021 to 2025. A core component of the 14FYP is the Dual Circulation Strategy (DCS). First set forth by President Xi Jinping during the Politburo Standing Committee Meeting of May 14th, 2020, the DCS is set to determine legislative, diplomatic and economic developments in China for the coming decade. Yet, the DCS is not well-defined. By looking into its origins, context, and objectives, this article will forecast the systemic changes to the Chinese economy introduced by the DCS. This article will argue that the DCS is nothing but a plan to advance China’s economic and political interests by strengthening its domestic market, achieving technological self-sufficiency, and promoting the adoption of its standards.

China Security

China in Mali and the Sudan: A Stepping Stone to Greater Chinese Influence in the UN?

China is pushing to become a bigger player in UN peacekeeping. Past involvements in conflicts in Mali and Sudan have shown that China is capable and willing to involve its own troops in UN missions. The decreased presence of other major contributors has allowed China to gain more influence within the UN. It is likely that China will capitalise on this, but at what cost?