China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

Xenophobia Flourishes in Beijing

Xenophobia Flourishes in BeijingThe recent meeting of China’s National People’s Congress has thrown up a whole number of speeches preaching nationalism and anti-foreign sentiments. These are not policy – yet. But they indicate the direction in which China is continuing to move, regardless of its Trump-era claim to be a guardian of globalisation against trade barriers and economic…

Gambling on Chinese Investment in Laos

Gambling on Chinese Investment in LaosWith its massive cupolas, one shaped like a green crown and the other painted bright gold, Kings Romans Casino does not blend in with the forests of rural Southeast Asia, but the establishment is the heart of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT-SEZ), a controversial gambling hub in northern Laos. The area has mostly…

Asia in 2016: China

Asia in 2016: ChinaThe Chinese government had much to be irritated about in 2016, both at home from its gyrating stock markets, and abroad from an unfavorable international ruling on its South China Sea expansion and attacks on its economic policy from Donald Trump, now President-elect of the United States. The Chinese government rejected an international tribunal’s ruling…

Trump’s Trip to Reality

Trump’s Trip to RealityUS President-elect Donald Trump faces the delicate question of how to deal with two of the world’s most powerful leaders as soon as he sits down in the oval office of the White House after his inauguration on January 20. His dealing with both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping will have…

China Matches Economic Clout with Growing Military Might

China Matches Economic Clout with Growing Military MightWhile  focus remains on how China is extending its Asian profile through construction of rail and road networks and economic corridors throughout the region, little attention has been paid to how it is translating its economic wealth into military power — power that the budding empire intends to use not just to protect its territorial…

China Takes to the Blue Water

China Takes to the Blue WaterThe recent well-publicized venture by China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning outside of its familiar coastal waters into the western Pacific and off the coast of Taiwan, is a signal event in China’s ambition to field a true blue-water navy.  When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly…

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to China

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to ChinaChina’s gift for buying foreign political leaders has scored another triumph with the visit to Beijing of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ingratiating tone of remarks in China at least give the impression that Malaysia’s foreign policy has veered farther away from its traditional informal alliance with the US.  In the end that may…

China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

The Naming of Seas is a Practical Matter

The Naming of Seas is a Practical MatterTwo centuries or more of western domination of much of the world has not only redrawn the global political maps but in many cases determined place names. If that seems arcane, it is not. It was western powers that named the South China Sea, for instance. It is a name that China is now using…
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