The G20 summit, which ended in Osaka last week called for fairer and more inclusive trade arrangements with the backdrop of China and the US calling a truce to their ongoing trade feud and with other countries calling for freer trade.
The resolute determination of the various Asean leaders calling for the swift conclusion of the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of the year suggests that China has taken the lead in geopolitical leadership in the region from the US.
The Shangri-La dialogue ended without much reassurance about the heightening tensions between superpowers China and the US in South China Sea, leaving it as a hotbed of contestations.
The Shangri-La Dialogue that ended last week dominated the heightening tensions between the US and China on both the economic and military fronts which is a deep source of regional anxiety in the Asia-Pacific region.
Taiwan declared it will continue its “humanitarian” search and rescue work in South China Sea, where it possesses the largest of some 500 islets.
Financial markets across many developing nations are struggling to attract capital amid the ongoing trade stand-off between China and the US.
Beijing has urged Washington “not to go too far” in harming China’s interests, and called for it to change course to avoid further damaging bilateral ties.
It’s ironic that the trade talks fell apart near the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement. Named after student protests on that day in 1919, the term signifies a wider campaign to change Chinese society.
Asean appears to be at the crossroads in terms of their collective energy future amid continued economic growth. The region faces a 50 percent rise in energy demand, which brings challenges in supplying affordable and sustainable energy.
Malaysia’s recent commitment to the Belt and Road initiative might prove to be a trailblazer for other Asean countries to buckle the deal that was moving at a slow pace.