Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong greets Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing, Nov. 9, 2014 (AP photo by Feng Li).

Last week, Hong Kong agreed to return nine armored vehicles to Singapore that had been seized in November while in transit from Taiwan, where they had been used in joint military exercises. The decision ends a diplomatic row that brought relations between China and Singapore to a low point. In an email interview, Lieke Bos, a project officer at the Royal United Services Institute, discusses Singapore’s ties with China. WPR: What is the nature of relations between Singapore and China, and what are the main areas of cooperation? Lieke Bos: Relations between China and Singapore have been relatively stable ever […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia,  Jan. 15, 2017 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, began the year with a weeklong tour of Southeast Asia and Australia earlier this month. The trip, which was planned in relative haste following the stunning election of Donald Trump as president of the United States last November, was an opportunity for Abe to try and impress upon Southeast Asian countries the importance of maintaining and defending international norms and laws, especially in the disputed waters around Southeast Asia. Abe visited the Philippines and Vietnam, two states with the most contested territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Abe also visited Indonesia, the […]

Workers take a lunch break outside a construction site, Beijing, China, Dec. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s note: This article is the first in an ongoing WPR series about workers' rights in various countries around the world. Labor organizations in China expect worker protests, which are common around the Lunar New Year, to spike in the coming weeks, in large part because workers from the “new economy,” which includes e-commerce workers, are experiencing problems with overdue payments for the first time. In an email interview, Cynthia Estlund, the Catherine A. Rein professor at the New York University School of Law and author of “A New Deal for China’s Workers?,” discusses workers' rights in China. WPR: What […]

An electronic board shows benchmark indexes of the global markets, Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 2, 2017 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

The world economy is caught in a vicious cycle that it cannot seem to break. It all began in 2008 with the shock of the global financial crisis followed two years later by the slow drip of the European debt crisis. In response to these events and the worldwide recession that accompanied them, many countries took steps to protect their economies from international instability and foreign competition. Yet creeping protectionism just acted as a further drag on economic growth. Continued tepid growth helped fuel the growing protectionist backlash in the industrialized world, which is poised to deliver a level of […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

That China is an export powerhouse is well established—“Made in China” products can be found in markets from Addis Ababa and Istanbul to Rome and New York. Despite a slowing economy, Chinese export of goods in 2015 totaled over $2.1 trillion, more than Italy’s GDP. But less remarked upon is the rise of China’s newest export: capital. In fact, during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week—the first by a Chinese president—President Xi Jinping not only vigorously defended free trade and globalization but also touted China’s efforts in facilitating global economic development. More than a formidable […]

U.S. President Barack Obama during a welcome ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Nov. 12, 2014 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

As Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency of the United States, the contest with China for influence in Asia continues apace. Since President Barack Obama announced the rebalance or “pivot” to Asia initiative in an address to Australia’s parliament in 2011, the U.S. has carried out a number of measures designed to bolster its influence in a region that is projected to play an increasingly central role in driving global economic growth. In addition to increases in force presence and posture, U.S. forces have fielded numerous advanced systems. Complementing the military moves, Washington has stepped up bilateral and multilateral […]