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India Politics South and Central Asia

Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Victory: What Does it Mean for Nepal’s Neighbourhood?

The electoral turmoil in Nepal witnessed a new development, when on the 20th of December, 2020 the nation’s president, Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved its parliament. Months of uncertainty in Government, coupled with the disastrous impact of the pandemic drove the nation to a political stalemate, until Sher Bahadur Deuba secured the position of Prime Minister with the backing of the parliament. What is the future course that the new Nepalese government will take and how will it shape their future in the region?   K.P Sharma Oli’s exit has stalled China’s rapprochement of Nepal, leaving a vacuum that can be filled by neighbouring aspirations from India. Nepal’s future in the South Asian neighbourhood will be marked by its management of the two regional powers, and a potential balancing act that can protect its self interests.

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.

Eurasia Politics

Hungarians protest encroaching Chinese Influence

Recently, Hungary’s President Orban has faced a wave of protests in response to plans to build a Chinese satellite campus at a Budapest University at the cost of $1.8 billion. The Hungarian public have objected on the grounds that the project could undercut the country’s higher education and increase the influence of China’s communist authorities in Hungary and across Europe. If the project goes ahead, there could be benefits for Sino-Hungarian relations but possibly at the cost of Hungary’s relations with its European neighbours and the stability of Orban’s premiership. 

Eurasia Politics

Russia and its ‘diversionary space race’?

The International Space Station (ISS), that hub of extra-terrestrial cooperation, recently announced that Russia will be withdrawing from its team from 2025. Russia plans to set up a separate orbital space station by 2030. As a result, there has been much debate about what this means in terms of Russia-US  and Sino-Russian relations. However, little attention has been paid to the domestic implications of Russia’s decision: is it an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing saga with Alexei Navalny and muster patriotic fervor?

Latin America Politics

Honduras and Vaccine Diplomacy: Are Increased Relations with China Likely?

Honduras, one of the few countries that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, is making attempts to build diplomatic bridges with China in order to acquire the much needed Covid-19 vaccines. So far, only 1% of the Honduran population has been vaccinated. This situation constitutes another chapter in the so-called ‘vaccine diplomacy’, where geopolitics comes into play in vaccine acquisition.

Environment North America

Concern for the planet, or a statement that the US is back? Biden’s virtual summit puts the ball in Xi’s court, as the US reclaims a leading role on international climate action

President Biden has shown his intent to restate the US as global leaders on climate change as he hosted a virtual summit on 22-23 April, encouraging states to build on their climate pledges. It has been hailed as a major success, uniting leading countries in climate action. However, the summit has sparked debate regarding climate politics. As competition between the US and China reaches its zenith, climate change remains one of the few areas left for them to cooperate on. Whether climate action will lead to healthy competition or conflict will depend on a range of factors over the next decade.

Asia Pacific Security

Japan: Is A Boost to National Defence On The Way?

In late May, a panel on national security and defence held by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) issued a draft proposal calling for a significant increase in Japan’s defence budget, among other defence related recommendations. This proposal, alongside recent comments made by Japan’s Minister of Defence, suggests a shift towards higher levels of spending and a more proactive defence policy.

International Southeast Asia

Russia and the Myanmar Coup: An Opportunity for Increased Arms Exports

Whereas most countries have condemned the coup in Myanmar, Russia is openly advocating for enhancing military technological cooperation with the military regime. In doing so, Russia seems to see the new military rule as an opportunity to increase its influence in Myanmar whilst boosting its arms exports. This may be a classic example of Moscow’s limited bilateral engagement, seeking financial gain and increased influence whilst preserving their strategic autonomy.

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.