Opinion

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong with US President Barack Obama. Vietnamese officials are said to be irritated by Osius’ description of Trong’s 2015 trip. Photo: EPA
Opinion | Ex-diplomat’s book offers ringside seat to US-Vietnam reconciliation

‘Nothing Is Impossible: America’s Reconciliation with Vietnam’ by Ted Osius chronicles the trust-building process between the US and one of its most critical partners in Asia, writes Murray Hiebert.

24 Jan 2022 - 11:00AM
The XTurismo hoverbike. Photo: Handout
Abacus | Personal air mobility is becoming a race between Japan, China and the US

Consumer drones once looked like a fad that would come and go, but now, if you have the means, you can buy one and sit on it, Neil Newman writes.

24 Jan 2022 - 6:00AM
Sun Lijun, a former public security vice-minister who confessed taking huge bribes, appears in a television documentary. Photo: CCTV
China Briefing | TV parades of China’s corrupt officials raise more questions than answers

Focusing on people like Sun Lijun or Hu Huaibang in isolation, without shining light on those around them, belies the claim that no stone is being left unturned, writes Wang Xiangwei.

22 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
Filipino migrant workersin Hong Kong. Photo: AP
As I see it | Why Hong Kong should consider better regulating the working hours of domestic workers

As the city enters the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lines between work and rest for its helpers have become blurrier, writes Raquel Carvalho.

21 Jan 2022 - 8:00AM
A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupts on January 15, 2022. Photo: NOAA/SSEC/CIMSS via Reuters
Opinion | Why Tonga’s volcanic eruption was so violent, and what to expect next

When hot magma rapidly blasts out of the ground and meets cold water, this ‘fuel-coolant interaction’ can be akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions.

18 Jan 2022 - 9:52AM
A performance at MM, a live music venue in Hong Kong’s Central that has since closed down. Government rules require singers to wear masks and perform behind a partition. Photo: Babe Tree
Abacus | Don’t let Omicron smother the soul of Hong Kong’s live music scene

The city’s leisure and F&B industry is once again in crisis and it’s up to the Hong Kong Musicians Union to ensure entertainers aren’t cut off from government relief.

17 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
A resident undergoes a Covid-19 test in Xian. Photo: AFP
China Briefing | Xian’s Covid-19 chaos exposes dark side of China’s top-down governance

The dysfunction is a reflection of the increasing demands for absolute loyalty made of the Communist Party’s more than 90 million members, who are expected to carry out instructions to the letter.

15 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
A customer shops at a supermarket in Nanjing. Photo: AFP
Opinion | Is China tripping over its pursuit for ‘common prosperity’?

China’s crackdown on tech and a range of other sectors shows its economic policies are increasingly driven by ideological rather than market-driven considerations.

16 Jan 2022 - 8:00AM
A boy gets a lollipop from a medical worker after receiving a dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Tianjin, China. Photo: Xinhua
As I see it | Don’t browbeat parents into vaccinating their kids. Persuade them

While the data suggests such jabs are safe, and Omicron has raised the stakes, ultimately it should be for parents to weigh the risks and benefits, writes Bhavan Jaipragas.

14 Jan 2022 - 11:00AM
A Model 3 car charges at a Tesla dealership in the United States. Photo: AP
Abacus | There’s a solution to China’s lithium squeeze: EV battery recycling

The rising price of lithium – and the environmental cost of throwing batteries away – threatens demand unless manufacturers are willing to think outside the box, writes Neil Newman.

12 Jan 2022 - 4:15PM
People pretend to cast their votes for the 2022 Philippine presidential election during a simulation exercise in Metro Manila last month. Photo: Reuters
Opinion | US, China, Asean: the three dilemmas facing the Philippines’ new leader

Balancing the Philippines’ security alliance with the US and trading relationship with China while trying to maintain Asean centrality will be no easy feat for whoever replaces Rodrigo Duterte as president, writes Lucio Blanco Pitlo III.

10 Jan 2022 - 12:00PM
Migrants gather on the Belarusian-Polish border in November. Photo: AFP
Abacus | Our new world war of economics, trade and alliances

It may not be ‘war’ by its standard definition, or even a cold war, but geopolitical conflict in this century is being waged through the weaponisation of relationships and people, writes Neil Newman.

10 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
Taiping island, in the South China Sea. The island is controlled by Taiwan. Photo: AP
Opinion | Beijing and Taipei are united – in their South China Sea claims

The claims of mainland China and Taiwan share their origin, but the US has never challenged those of the self-governed island.

9 Jan 2022 - 11:00AM
Tesla’s showroom in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Photo: Weibo
China Briefing | The days of ‘keeping quiet while making a fortune’ in China are numbered

The guiding philosophies of Jiang Zemin and Deng Xiaoping have been turned on their head. Nowadays firms must keep quiet while struggling to make money, writes Wang Xiangwei.

8 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
A vehicle that was burned during the protests triggered by fuel price increases is seen on a road in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Photo: Reuters
Opinion | Kazakhstan’s unrest is a distraction China does not need

The ex-Soviet republic’s economic crisis and Russia’s involvement in quelling deadly riots is adding to Beijing’s list of woes amid its rivalry with the US.

8 Jan 2022 - 6:21AM
Cai Niang Niang in the Three Squirrels advert.
As I see it | Why do Western brands alienate Chinese customers with slanted-eye models?

Put aside arguments about aesthetics, Chinese consumers have shown time and again they don’t appreciate these images. So why alienate your target audience?

7 Jan 2022 - 10:30AM
Former US President Donald Trump insists the election was ‘stolen’ from him. Photo: AP
Abacus | Will Biden’s China, Russia, North Korea woes help to boost a Trump comeback?

On the first anniversary of the US Capitol insurrection and ahead of the November midterms, Trump is hoping the stars will align for him.

6 Jan 2022 - 7:30AM
A train of the China-Laos Railway arrives in Yuxi, China’s Yunnan Province. The China Laos railway is one of hundreds of projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. File photo: Xinhua via AP
China Briefing | From 5G to infrastructure, healthy US-China competition will benefit the world

US-backed efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative will also help improve infrastructure and access for developing nations from Africa to Latin America.

1 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
Japanese Ground-Self Defence Force Type 90 tank fires its gun at a target during a military drill in Eniwa, Hokkaido. Photo: AP
As I see it | Will Japan’s defence moves heighten tensions in the Taiwan Strait?

Apart from unveiling a record military budget, Tokyo and Washington have also drawn up a draft plan for a joint operation for a possible Taiwan emergency.

31 Dec 2021 - 9:30AM
An image from an electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Photo: NIAID-RML/Zuma Press/TNS
Opinion | Why Omicron may be the final coronavirus variant of concern

If we are lucky, Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, will probably become an endemic virus that slowly mutates over time. Variants of concern will become a thing of the past – at least until the next virus jumps the species barrier, writes Ben Krishna.

29 Dec 2021 - 9:01AM