Over the past five years, Beijing has adopted a much more assertive military and diplomatic approach in Southeast Asia. While one could reasonably expect this to negatively affect China’s standing in the region, the opposite is the case. China’s influence in Southeast Asia has soared, largely at the expense of the United States.
Is Washington’s post-Cold War “unipolar moment” over? Some claim that multipolarity has been with us for some time. Others are not so sure, pointing to the United States’ continued economic and military dominance. But even if the U.S. remains the world’s predominant power, it may still well exist in a multipolar world.
The final communique of last weekend’s G-7 summit left no doubt that the West views Russia as a malign global player and enemy, and considers China to be a competitor, rival and potential threat. That is the position among the governments and leaders of the world’s richest democracies. But what about the world’s population at large?
Late last week, China and the U.S. engaged in their first high-level, face-to-face discussions since the spy balloon fiasco, suggesting they have started to put the incident behind them. If they manage to sustain the latest thaw, the world will be better off, as more contact is crucial for managing a range of bilateral and global issues.
The U.N. recently projected that India will replace China as the world’s most-populous country this year, fueling discussion about whether India’s swelling population could create a “demographic dividend” that would allow it to surpass China economically as well. But India has a lot of ground to cover to meet those expectations.
More than 1,000 days after being imprisoned, Australian journalist Cheng Lei is still behind bars in China awaiting a verdict on spying charges. But her case does not appear to be directly work-related. It is more likely that Cheng was collateral damage of bilateral tensions between Australia and China at the time of her detention.
Relations between Australia and India are at a critical juncture amid a deepening of bilateral ties. With engagement at an all-time high, sustained by a mutual interest in balancing China and ensuring a stable order in the Indo-Pacific, Canberra and New Delhi appear poised to consolidate the growing expansion of their partnership.
It’s hard to imagine that Paraguay’s elections would have repercussions for China, or that Taiwan’s status would be of interest to Paraguayan voters. But that is exactly what just occurred Sunday, when one of the top issues in Paraguay’s elections was whether or not to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish them with China.
China’s delivery economy has exploded since the pandemic. With more and more purchases just a fingertip away, the convenience of the delivery apps has enticed shoppers and drivers alike. But with the change in shopping habits, the tough conditions faced by the gig workers that keep the system running have become more prominent.
The China that is reemerging onto the world stage after its multiyear pandemic shutdown is very different than the one that launched the Belt and Road Initiative a decade ago. Beijing seems interested in reshaping its role as an international development partner. The results of those efforts could transform global development itself.