The Trump administration has re-raised the decade-old geopolitical concept of the “Indo-Pacific” region and is proposing and pushing a so-called “Quad,” a potential security arrangement among the four large democracies of India, Australia, Japan, and the US.
On November 9, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping published an article “For a New Vista in China-Vietnam Friendship” in the official Vietnamese newspaper Nhan Dan, reflecting Beijing’s burgeoning interest to strengthen its ties with Hanoi by mitigating their differences.
As Beijing considers resolving the Taiwan issue via militarized means,
Taiwanese opinion, both governmental and public, becomes more polarized among pro-independence, pro-unification, and other related parties.
According to Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon, “the Chinese government recently unveiled a new legal tactic to promote Beijing’s aggressive claim to own most of the strategic South China Sea.” Gertz calls this “new” claim the “Four Sha.”
While President Xi has amassed great powers, he is also facing formidable challenges confronting China. He has to manage China’s maturing economy, upgrade quality of life for the middle class, and ensure sustainable growth with less detriments to the environment.
China and India seem to be resetting ties. Li Xiasan, the Organization Department head of Yunnan Province and Central Committee member of the Communist Party, visited India in September 2017, becoming the first Chinese official to visit India since the Doklam standoff.
On October 10, 2017, the US executed yet another FONOP challenging what it says are illegal Chinese claims in the South China Sea. So why does the US Navy deem it necessary to keep repeating specific kinetic challenges to the same specific claim?
In the lead up to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, there have been many predictions about who’s in and who’s out of the Politburo Standing Committee, fueled by observers’ fascination about political struggles, cliques, successor regime, etc.
The 19th Party Congress will be a public line-up of top officials who will be handpicked by President Xi to navigate China’s future. After the Congress, China is likely to align Hong Kong’s economic development closer to its own interests and national priorities.