SINGAPORE: The run-up to the US-China meeting already foreshadowed the challenges that the actual bilateral discussions in Anchorage would encounter. In fact, the two sides could not agree on how to call it. For the US, it was a meeting to communicate positions to the other side. For China, it was a “high-level strategic dialogue”, a continuation from where the countries had left off before Trump entered the White House. Tensions spilled over in public, in the first session, when under the eye of cameras from all over the world, the US and China had what in diplomatic terms can only be described as frosty . US Secretary of State Antony Blinken opened with criticising China for actions that “threaten the rule based order that maintains global stability.” State Council member Yang Yiechi replied: “We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.” READ: Commentary: Joe ... » Learn More about Commentary: After Alaska, age of selective engagement in US-China relations begins
India confronts china
NEW DELHI: As countries scramble to secure COVID-19 vaccines, ugly expressions like “vaccine race” and “vaccine nationalism” have entered the global lexicon. But, at a time when global cooperation in sharing vaccines is minimal, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccine-distribution plans are yet to get off the ground, India has taken a different tack, quietly pursuing “vaccine diplomacy.” Its “Vaccine Maitri” (Vaccine Friendship) campaign has shipped hundreds of thousands of Indian-made Covishield vaccines, manufactured under license from Oxford-AstraZeneca, to some 60 countries. READ: Commentary: COVID-19 vaccine deployment may be messy, but will reshape health systems for good India is a global pharmaceutical powerhouse, manufacturing some 20 per cent of all generic medicines and accounting for as much as 62 per cent of global vaccine production, so it was quick off the mark when the pandemic struck. Before COVID-19 vaccines were developed, India supplied some ... » Learn More about Commentary: What’s behind India’s generous vaccine diplomacy?
BEIJING (Global Times): US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin kicked off his three-day visit to India on Friday (March 19), just a week after the first summit of the Quad, an informal security grouping consisting of the US, Japan, Australia, and India. Austin is the first US official from the Joe Biden administration to visit India Austin called the India-US relationship a "stronghold of free and open Indo-Pacific region." This displays the great importance the Biden administration has attached to India and its intent to reinforce bilateral ties with India. In contrast to the US-Japan joint press statement issued on March 16, the joint remarks between Austin and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on Saturday did not mention China. Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Sunday that just as many major powers, India tries to avoid taking sides between China and the US, whose competition ... » Learn More about Difficult for India to fall for US pressure over China: Global Times
Hi all, In today's bulletin: US, EU, UK, Canada impose more sanctions on China over Xinjiang ; Beijing retaliates; China to build closer relations with North Korea & Russia ; Myanmar’s military junta releases video accusing Aung San Suu Kyi of corruption; Singapore and Malaysia discuss progressively opening up cross-border travel, India and Pakistan to discuss contentious water issue , and more. Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here . US, EU, UK, Canada impose sanctions on China over Xinjiang abuses; Beijing hits back In a concerted diplomatic effort to confront China for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials on Monday. This was the first coordinated action against China by the Biden administration. It comes soon after his top foreign policy officials - Secretary of State Antony Blinken ... » Learn More about Asian Insider, March 23: West sanctions China over Xinjiang abuses; China to boost ties with N. Korea, Russia
Hi all, In today's bulletin: Contentious tone in US-China meeting not surprising , experts say; Defence Secretary Austin on mission to deepen India-US ties ; Crackdown triggers exodus from Myanmar's Yangon as more deaths reported; Covid-19 has pushed 32 million Indians out of middle class ; Hong Kong’s fragile coral reefs boosted by 3D printing ; and more. Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here . US-China Alaska meeting: Contentious tone not surprising, experts say If Beijing went into its talks with the United States in Anchorage, Alaska, seeking a reset in their relationship after years of fraught ties and a bruising trade war under the Trump administration, the hard line adopted by Biden administration officials in the opening minutes of their meeting quickly made it clear that was not going to happen . The contentious tone - with Chinese officials accusing their American counterparts of ... » Learn More about Asian Insider, March 19: Contentious tone in US-China meeting; Lloyd Austin to deepen India-US ties
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The United States and China leveled sharp rebukes of each others’ policies in the first high-level, in-person talks of the Biden administration on Thursday, with deeply strained relations of the two global rivals on rare public display during the meeting’s opening session in Alaska. The United States, which quickly accused China of “grandstanding” and violating the meeting’s protocol, had been looking for a change in behavior from China, itself having expressed earlier this year a hope to reset sour relations. On the eve of the talks, Beijing had presaged what would be a contentious meeting, with its ambassador to Washington saying the United States was full of illusions if it thinks China will compromise. Sparring in a highly unusual extended back-and-forth in front of cameras, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan opened their meeting with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi in Anchorage, ... » Learn More about Top US, Chinese diplomats clash publicly at start of first talks of Biden presidency
Dear ST reader, Welcome to The Straits Times’ new iteration of our Asian Insider newsletter. From today, the bulletin will be delivered to your inbox once a week. In it, we cover the biggest news developments, features, analyses and commentaries that keep you ahead of critical issues around the region. This week, we look at how the vaccination campaigns are progressing in Asia, the looming civil war in Myanmar, and Beijing’s hard message on Xinjiang cotton. Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here . Invisible Asia Have you been following our ongoing Invisible Asia series of feature stories, videos and podcasts , shining the spotlight on people living in the shadows of their societies, largely unseen, unheard and little talked about? The latest instalment by India correspondent Rohini Mohan explores the lives of the country’s infamous Dalit sewer cleaners , trapped in a caste-ridden occupation, outlawed ... » Learn More about Asian Insider: Discover Invisible Asia | How to vaccinate billions?
WASHINGTON: The United States will speak out about human rights everywhere including in allies and at home, Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed on Tuesday (Mar 30), turning a page from Donald Trump as he bemoaned deteriorations around the world. Presenting the State Department's first human rights report under President Joe Biden, the new top US diplomat took some of his most pointed, yet still veiled, swipes at the approach of the Trump administration. "Some have argued that it's not worth it for the US to speak up forcefully for human rights - or that we should highlight abuse only in select countries, and only in a way that directly advances our national interests," Blinken told reporters in clear reference to Trump's approach. "But those people miss the point. Standing up for human rights everywhere is in America's interests," he said. "And the Biden-Harris administration will stand against human rights abuses wherever they occur, regardless of whether the ... » Learn More about Turning page on Trump, US vows to defend rights everywhere
United Nations special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told a session of the UN Security Council on Wednesday that "a bloodbath is imminent" because of the military's intensified crackdown on anti-coup protesters. Schraner Burgener told a closed session of the 15-member council that the military that seized power in Myanmar on Feb. 1 was not capable of managing the country, and warned the situation on the ground would only worsen, according to comments shared with reporters. "Consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve and prevent a multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia," she said. The council must consider "potentially significant action" to reverse the course of events as "a bloodbath is imminent," Schraner Burgener said. Britain requested the meeting at the United Nations in New York in response to worsening violence in Myanmar. At least 521 civilians have been killed in protests ... » Learn More about ‘Bloodbath’ is imminent in Myanmar: UN envoy
Workers are seen on the production line at a cotton textile factory in Korla, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China April 1, 2021. (Reuters photo) Faced with accusations that it was profiting from the forced labour of Uyghur people in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang, the H&M Group — the world’s second-largest clothing retailer — promised last year to stop buying cotton from the region. But last month, H&M confronted a new outcry, this time from Chinese consumers who seized on the company’s renouncement of the cotton as an attack on China. Social media filled with angry demands for a boycott, urged on by the government. Global brands like H&M risked alienating a country of 1.4 billion people. The furore underscored how international clothing brands relying on Chinese materials and factories now face the mother of all conundrums — a conflict vastly more complex than their now-familiar reputational crises over exploitative working conditions in poor countries. If ... » Learn More about Global brands find it hard to untangle themselves from Xinjiang cotton