On 16 December, the US Department of Defense announced that it had issued a formal protest to China demanding the return of an underwater drone. After several days of verbal tit-for tat, China returned the drone. The US Navy is determining whether the seizure was a “low-level” action by the sailors or a top down message by senior Chinese leaders.
Trump’s unexpected phone call with Taiwan’s leader, his ensuing tweets swiping at China’s currency policy and military buildup in the South China Sea and his interview on December 11 suggesting he might tear up the “one China” policy hit some of the most sensitive issues in US-China relations.
An unprecedented stock rout in the summer of 2015 led to draconian anti-graft investigations into officials and executives in China’s financial sectors, with at least eight officials in the China Securities Regulatory Commission being detained.
Southeast Asian countries have two serious concerns which might increase distrust between China and ASEAN, and this may become a bottleneck of the MSR construction. One is about China’s nine-dash line, and the other is whether China is undermining ASEAN’s unity.
The National Development and Reform Commission of China released its five-year plan (2016-20) for rural economic development in November 2016. In this plan, rising costs in agricultural production have been highlighted as a major challenge.
The relations between South Korea and China have experienced a sharp turn, which observers consider as the worst as South Korea edges towards its 2017 presidential elections. Recent events have exacerbated tensions between the two countries, leading to analysts believing that China may eventually lose South Korea as a reliable partner.
China should take advantage of the favorable situation in the South China Sea region to maintain stability. China should also keep improving the situation by strengthening its relations with the US, the other claimant countries, and the ASEAN countries.
While the US and its allies were reeling from the recent election of Donald Trump as US president and his pledge to scrap the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership once he comes into office, Chinese President Xi Jinping pushed APEC members to accelerate their negotiations towards the completion of two alternative regional trade agreements.
China is the world’s second largest economy; although its economic growth has dropped to a lower gear, the volume of its economy will overtake the US’ in the near future. A frail US economy sets the stage for China to ascend to the leader’s podium.
After 1989 Beijing, social change and national development in China became displaced from the politics of New Democracy to a genericized and technocratic logic of development for its own ends. The anti-corruption campaign currently led by Xi Jinping amounts to a humanistic critique of technocracy, and the return of openly politicized discourse.