Tom Plate

Tom Plate

Tom Plate is a university professor and a veteran columnist focused on Asia and America. This Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University has orchestrated live interactive seminars with major universities across Asia, as part of the LMU’s path-finding Asia Media International Centre. He is also the author of 13 books, including the bestsellers “Confessions of an American Media Man” (2007) and four volumes in the “Giants of Asia” series. His latest is Yo-Yo Diplomacy: An American Columnist Tackles The Ups-and-Downs Between China and the US (2017).

Latest from Tom Plate

Opinion | Why the world must avoid returning to ‘normal’ if and when the coronavirus crisis winds down

The world must change in the aftermath of the epidemic. Might a new political psychology accommodate more serious science and less narrow-minded nationalism? Blaming China for the outbreak misses the point that nations are in this together.

25 Feb 2020 - 10:51AM

The world must change in the aftermath of the epidemic. Might a new political psychology accommodate more serious science and less narrow-minded nationalism? Blaming China for the outbreak misses the point that nations are in this together.

Why the world must avoid returning to ‘normal’ if and when the coronavirus crisis winds down
Opinion | While the coronavirus’ spread is blamed on communism, are Americans tracking the ills of their own political culture?

Following Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and in the run-up to the presidential election, the US seems set for an outbreak of rage and partisan politics. Americans must ensure the political virus of fascism remains contained.

14 Feb 2020 - 4:40PM

Following Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and in the run-up to the presidential election, the US seems set for an outbreak of rage and partisan politics. Americans must ensure the political virus of fascism remains contained.

While the coronavirus’ spread is blamed on communism, are Americans tracking the ills of their own political culture?
Opinion | As coronavirus spreads, anti-China sentiment must give way to a global effort to contain the disease

Xi Jinping has expanded the reach of the Communist Party and ignored Deng Xiaoping’s advice for China to lie low as it grows economically. Despite Western unease at China’s trajectory, the world must extend to the country the help it needs at this critical juncture.

17 Feb 2020 - 2:10PM

Xi Jinping has expanded the reach of the Communist Party and ignored Deng Xiaoping’s advice for China to lie low as it grows economically. Despite Western unease at China’s trajectory, the world must extend to the country the help it needs at this critical juncture.

As coronavirus spreads, anti-China sentiment must give way to a global effort to contain the disease
Opinion | The Doomsday Clock is ticking. Between Trump and Iran, how close is the world coming to nuclear war?

In the best-case scenario, Trump will be voted out of office this year. In the worst case, Trump’s America and eight other nuclear powers might bring the world to the brink of disaster. All it takes, as Iran has shown, is ‘human error’.

14 Jan 2020 - 5:27AM

In the best-case scenario, Trump will be voted out of office this year. In the worst case, Trump’s America and eight other nuclear powers might bring the world to the brink of disaster. All it takes, as Iran has shown, is ‘human error’.

The Doomsday Clock is ticking. Between Trump and Iran, how close is the world coming to nuclear war?
Opinion | From Donald Trump curbing his Twitter use to Xi Jinping retiring, here’s what won’t happen in 2020 – but probably should

While it’s very unlikely that the world will make substantial progress on climate change or come to complete agreement on geopolitical issues, some simpler developments are also unlikely to come to pass.

31 Dec 2019 - 11:00AM

While it’s very unlikely that the world will make substantial progress on climate change or come to complete agreement on geopolitical issues, some simpler developments are also unlikely to come to pass.

From Donald Trump curbing his Twitter use to Xi Jinping retiring, here’s what won’t happen in 2020 – but probably should
Opinion | The trade war, North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Hong Kong’s protests all show what happens when ‘principle’ triumphs over reason

Unyielding principles are often indistinguishable from stubbornness, especially when it results in diplomatic disaster. All sides in the North Korean nuclear talks, the US-China rivalry and Hong Kong have shown unwillingness to compromise.

17 Dec 2019 - 11:29AM

Unyielding principles are often indistinguishable from stubbornness, especially when it results in diplomatic disaster. All sides in the North Korean nuclear talks, the US-China rivalry and Hong Kong have shown unwillingness to compromise.

The trade war, North Korea’s nuclear provocations and Hong Kong’s protests all show what happens when ‘principle’ triumphs over reason
Opinion | China could take a leaf out of US containment policy and keep its own hard communist ideology in check

Diplomat George Kennan’s containment policy outlived its usefulness to the US after the cold war but it might have some relevance for China today, especially in its dealings with Hong Kong.

3 Dec 2019 - 4:51AM

Diplomat George Kennan’s containment policy outlived its usefulness to the US after the cold war but it might have some relevance for China today, especially in its dealings with Hong Kong.

China could take a leaf out of US containment policy and keep its own hard communist ideology in check
Opinion | To end the Hong Kong protests, the Chinese leadership must blink first and offer to negotiate

By directing the Hong Kong government to offer to start unconditional negotiations, China’s leaders can show the world a more nuanced face amid the trade war.

19 Nov 2019 - 7:29AM

By directing the Hong Kong government to offer to start unconditional negotiations, China’s leaders can show the world a more nuanced face amid the trade war.

To end the Hong Kong protests, the Chinese leadership must blink first and offer to negotiate
Opinion | America is living under the threat of a Mao-like figure – Donald Trump

What’s the truth at the heart of the endless impeachment drama in Washington? While Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been compared to Mao Zedong, it is surely US President Donald Trump who outdoes Xi with his paranoia and constant disruption.

5 Nov 2019 - 5:24AM

What’s the truth at the heart of the endless impeachment drama in Washington? While Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been compared to Mao Zedong, it is surely US President Donald Trump who outdoes Xi with his paranoia and constant disruption.

America is living under the threat of a Mao-like figure – Donald Trump
Opinion | The protests can end constructively for Hong Kong and Beijing, but neither side is showing the courage required

Hong Kong’s protesters should stop the violence and all sides should start planning for a more representative government. And both Hongkongers and Americans should forget about US involvement, which can only hold the democracy movement back.

22 Oct 2019 - 6:03AM

Hong Kong’s protesters should stop the violence and all sides should start planning for a more representative government. And both Hongkongers and Americans should forget about US involvement, which can only hold the democracy movement back.

The protests can end constructively for Hong Kong and Beijing, but neither side is showing the courage required
Opinion | From US-China trade war to ‘foreign interference’, the nation-state system is ailing and needs a reset

Donald Trump’s call for China’s assistance to investigate a political rival, at a point when bilateral relations are at a critically low ebb, raises alarm bells, and more questions about the sustainability of the Westphalian nation-state order.

8 Oct 2019 - 3:24AM

Donald Trump’s call for China’s assistance to investigate a political rival, at a point when bilateral relations are at a critically low ebb, raises alarm bells, and more questions about the sustainability of the Westphalian nation-state order.

From US-China trade war to ‘foreign interference’, the nation-state system is ailing and needs a reset
Opinion | If China believes the US has grown soft, its military leaders should read James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ book

Trump’s former defence secretary has co-authored a narrative that, in detailing the philosophy and capabilities of the US marines, reveals a willingness within the military establishment to take the fight to the enemy. China should take note.

24 Sep 2019 - 1:25PM

Trump’s former defence secretary has co-authored a narrative that, in detailing the philosophy and capabilities of the US marines, reveals a willingness within the military establishment to take the fight to the enemy. China should take note.

If China believes the US has grown soft, its military leaders should read James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ book
Opinion | Why China and the US need to worry about the war on think tanks and free thought

Xi Jinping’s discomfort with independent think tanks is matched by the US distrust of all things Chinese. Policy intellectuals are increasingly needed in a complex world, and it is the high responsibility of Beijing and Washington to keep the conversation flowing.

10 Sep 2019 - 3:30AM

Xi Jinping’s discomfort with independent think tanks is matched by the US distrust of all things Chinese. Policy intellectuals are increasingly needed in a complex world, and it is the high responsibility of Beijing and Washington to keep the conversation flowing.

Why China and the US need to worry about the war on think tanks and free thought
Opinion | Hong Kong offers China a way out of Trump’s trade war: cool the protests crisis to ease the tariffs heat

As hawkish advisers whip up the China hysteria, Trump unleashes yet more bellicose trade action, spelling potential disaster for the world economy. It is Xi Jinping’s moment to make the first move towards reconciliation.

27 Aug 2019 - 3:23AM

As hawkish advisers whip up the China hysteria, Trump unleashes yet more bellicose trade action, spelling potential disaster for the world economy. It is Xi Jinping’s moment to make the first move towards reconciliation.

Hong Kong offers China a way out of Trump’s trade war: cool the protests crisis to ease the tariffs heat
Opinion | Washington should stop shooting its mouth off about Hong Kong, when even Donald Trump is being sensible

The chaos in Hong Kong comes as the US-China relationship wanders into dangerous territory. It is now believed in Washington that Beijing can do no right because the Communist Party can only do wrong.

13 Aug 2019 - 3:21AM

The chaos in Hong Kong comes as the US-China relationship wanders into dangerous territory. It is now believed in Washington that Beijing can do no right because the Communist Party can only do wrong.

Washington should stop shooting its mouth off about Hong Kong, when even Donald Trump is being sensible
Opinion | Can Australia overcome its China fears to manage its balancing act in the western Pacific?

Asian neighbours admire Australia and are grateful for its aid over the years, but they also get turned off by its smug sense of superiority. Some don’t tremble at the mere mention of China and even admire the rise of a Chinese/Asian superpower.

30 Jul 2019 - 4:38AM

Asian neighbours admire Australia and are grateful for its aid over the years, but they also get turned off by its smug sense of superiority. Some don’t tremble at the mere mention of China and even admire the rise of a Chinese/Asian superpower.

Can Australia overcome its China fears to manage its balancing act in the western Pacific?
Opinion | Machismo has no place in relations between mighty China and tiny, isolated Taiwan

Paranoia about a rising China is unwarranted. Yet Beijing should also check its impulse to press its advantage over the self-ruled island. Neither side wants war, and many Taiwanese just want to keep the status quo.

16 Jul 2019 - 5:33AM

Paranoia about a rising China is unwarranted. Yet Beijing should also check its impulse to press its advantage over the self-ruled island. Neither side wants war, and many Taiwanese just want to keep the status quo.

Machismo has no place in relations between mighty China and tiny, isolated Taiwan
Opinion | To win the ‘battle for Hong Kong’, Beijing must stop treating it as just another Chinese city

Hongkongers will not stand for the routine style of mainland governance. There is enough flexibility in the ‘one country, two systems’ model for peaceful relations, as long as the central government can loosen its grip on Hong Kong.

2 Jul 2019 - 9:03AM

Hongkongers will not stand for the routine style of mainland governance. There is enough flexibility in the ‘one country, two systems’ model for peaceful relations, as long as the central government can loosen its grip on Hong Kong.

To win the ‘battle for Hong Kong’, Beijing must stop treating it as just another Chinese city
Opinion | Hong Kong extradition and US immigration protests: two issues that show the people still have plenty of fight in them

Hongkongers and Americans are right to see recent actions on extradition and immigration as betrayals of principle, and their protests show how they will respond to a government that oversteps the mark.

18 Jun 2019 - 4:14AM

Hongkongers and Americans are right to see recent actions on extradition and immigration as betrayals of principle, and their protests show how they will respond to a government that oversteps the mark.

Hong Kong extradition and US immigration protests: two issues that show the people still have plenty of fight in them
Opinion | This June 4, perhaps the US should forget Tiananmen, if we are ever to move on from anger and recrimination

To this day, o one has nailed down precisely what happened between protesters and government troops in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Yet the rumour mill grinds away and disputed memories continue to poison China-US relations.

4 Jun 2019 - 9:00AM

To this day, o one has nailed down precisely what happened between protesters and government troops in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Yet the rumour mill grinds away and disputed memories continue to poison China-US relations.

This June 4, perhaps the US should forget Tiananmen, if we are ever to move on from anger and recrimination
Opinion | How new-found trust between the Vatican and Beijing should inspire Chinese and US trade negotiators

The Vatican’s chief negotiator in China has spoken of how building trust between the two sides involves avoiding doctrinal positions in favour of solving practical problems. China and the US might take a leaf out of the cardinal’s book.

21 May 2019 - 2:26AM

The Vatican’s chief negotiator in China has spoken of how building trust between the two sides involves avoiding doctrinal positions in favour of solving practical problems. China and the US might take a leaf out of the cardinal’s book.

How new-found trust between the Vatican and Beijing should inspire Chinese and US trade negotiators
Opinion | Why the mum of Stanford admissions scandal student Yusi Zhao is mother of the year in my books

The mother of Yusi Zhao was willing to pay any price – US$6.5 million in this case – to see her daughter get an education of value. Let’s be real: it’s a mother’s nature to go to great lengths for her children, and universities need extra funding to thrive.

7 May 2019 - 3:58AM

The mother of Yusi Zhao was willing to pay any price – US$6.5 million in this case – to see her daughter get an education of value. Let’s be real: it’s a mother’s nature to go to great lengths for her children, and universities need extra funding to thrive.

Why the mum of Stanford admissions scandal student Yusi Zhao is mother of the year in my books
Opinion | The world can think its way out of a US-China deadlock, starting by reading Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani

More than ever, the world needs scholars who offer good thinking and writing about China, from Kishore Mahbubani to Hugh White to China’s Central Party School professors. Scholarship can buffer US-China tensions before they get out of hand.

23 Apr 2019 - 1:58AM

More than ever, the world needs scholars who offer good thinking and writing about China, from Kishore Mahbubani to Hugh White to China’s Central Party School professors. Scholarship can buffer US-China tensions before they get out of hand.

The world can think its way out of a US-China deadlock, starting by reading Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani
Opinion | America’s latest ‘red scare’ is overblown. China is not intent on world domination

The US Committee on the Present Danger focusing on China misreads the Communist Party’s intentions. While China will seek to dominate transnational sectors it sees as essential to its survival, conquering the world would be too much trouble.

9 Apr 2019 - 2:21AM

The US Committee on the Present Danger focusing on China misreads the Communist Party’s intentions. While China will seek to dominate transnational sectors it sees as essential to its survival, conquering the world would be too much trouble.

America’s latest ‘red scare’ is overblown. China is not intent on world domination
Opinion | Trade war lesson: when you can’t ignore China, learn to be patient and work with the Chinese

Over time, the issue of intellectual property protection is being addressed by the US and China, and a trade deal might materialise soon. In dealing with Beijing, both Americans and Europeans need to take a forward-looking approach.

26 Mar 2019 - 4:23AM

Over time, the issue of intellectual property protection is being addressed by the US and China, and a trade deal might materialise soon. In dealing with Beijing, both Americans and Europeans need to take a forward-looking approach.

Trade war lesson: when you can’t ignore China, learn to be patient and work with the Chinese
Opinion | Donald Trump’s embattled presidency will take its toll – and not just on America

The need to fend off a gathering movement at home to impeach him will no doubt distract the already easily distracted Trump from matters of global concern, whether it is a denuclearisation deal with North Korea or trade deal with China.

12 Mar 2019 - 5:39AM

The need to fend off a gathering movement at home to impeach him will no doubt distract the already easily distracted Trump from matters of global concern, whether it is a denuclearisation deal with North Korea or trade deal with China.

Donald Trump’s embattled presidency will take its toll – and not just on America
Opinion | Why China’s model of development offers Asia an alternative playbook and need not inspire fear in the US

China’s path to economic development, despite a rigid political system, has been successfully replicated in Vietnam and could be a model for North Korea to follow too.

26 Feb 2019 - 6:05AM

China’s path to economic development, despite a rigid political system, has been successfully replicated in Vietnam and could be a model for North Korea to follow too.

Why China’s model of development offers Asia an alternative playbook and need not inspire fear in the US
Opinion | China and the US are moving away from cooperation and towards more denunciations of capitalism and socialism

Beijing’s tighter control and scepticism of Western ideas – like capitalism – have sadly coincided with a new US anti-socialism which seems opposed to government itself.

12 Feb 2019 - 3:55AM

Beijing’s tighter control and scepticism of Western ideas – like capitalism – have sadly coincided with a new US anti-socialism which seems opposed to government itself.

China and the US are moving away from cooperation and towards more denunciations of capitalism and socialism
Opinion | Wang Qishan could be the new face of Chinese pragmatism after Zhu Rongji – and a voice of reassurance for the West

China’s vice-president made it a point in his Davos speech to stress Beijing’s commitment to taking a pragmatic approach in problem-solving – welcome words that should help ease tense US-China relations.

29 Jan 2019 - 1:52AM

China’s vice-president made it a point in his Davos speech to stress Beijing’s commitment to taking a pragmatic approach in problem-solving – welcome words that should help ease tense US-China relations.

Wang Qishan could be the new face of Chinese pragmatism after Zhu Rongji – and a voice of reassurance for the West
Opinion | Why China and Taiwan should set their sights on 2072 for implementing an agreement on unification

Tom Plate says instead of escalating cross-strait tension, Beijing and Taiwan should focus on coming to an agreement on the ‘1992 consensus’ and working towards a settlement in time for the end of Mao Zedong’s 100-year waiting period.

15 Jan 2019 - 10:28AM

Tom Plate says instead of escalating cross-strait tension, Beijing and Taiwan should focus on coming to an agreement on the ‘1992 consensus’ and working towards a settlement in time for the end of Mao Zedong’s 100-year waiting period.

Why China and Taiwan should set their sights on 2072 for implementing an agreement on unification