China needs to reassure foreign investors and revive its economy, while a US with its hands full in Ukraine and Gaza needs to establish guardrails with China.
The 2021 ship shortage pushed great powers to take back control of the semiconductor industry, attempting to redraw supply chains concentrated in East Asia, and eroding Taiwan’s strategic importance and bargaining power.
Since Xi Jinping exhorted officials to present a ‘lovable’ image of the country, Chinese diplomats have been toning down their strident rhetoric. On core issues, such as Taiwan and the South China Sea, however, Beijing is likely to act as assertively as ever.
While China remains committed to the Sino-Russian partnership, recent diplomatic efforts show it is also concerned about protecting its global image. Beijing’s calls to respect sovereignty and opposition to the use of nuclear weapons suggest a quiet disapproval of Moscow’s military actions.
As befits a major power in Southeast Asia, China should take the initiative to put into practice what it has repeatedly pledged – use its land features in the contested regional waters to tackle non-traditional security challenges, alongside its Asean partners.
American calls for dealing with China ‘from a position of strength’ have drawn outrage from Beijing, but what does it actually mean? A close examination shows how misunderstanding can thwart efforts to bring the two sides together.
The Asean-China naval exercise highlights the warming of relations as the Belt and Road Initiative makes inroads but does not imply that Asean is leaning towards China and away from the US.