Here's what a doctor and pandemic expert thinks about the exciting trial data coming from Pfizer and Moderna.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has "piles of cash" at home as she has no bank account after the United States slapped sanctions on her in response to a draconian security law China imposed on the city.
Only 13 MPs were against it. This article, Malaysia’s RM322b budget for next year gets thumbs up from all but Mahathir and friends, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
A federal appeals court on Friday flatly dismissed President Donald Trump's claim that the election was unfair and refused to freeze Joe Biden's win in the key state of Pennsylvania.
China has increased its import quota for thermal coal by 20 million tonnes to see it through until the end of the year, although Australian shipments of the commodity will not benefit as US$500 million worth of its coal exports remains stuck at Chinese ports amid a blistering row between the two countries.Instead Russia and Indonesia are likely to benefit from the increased quotas, according to commodities analyst S&P; Global Platts.Separately on Wednesday, Indonesia signed a three-year US$1.46 billion deal to sell more coal to China starting next year, as the world’s second largest economy charges ahead in trade with its key raw material partners.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The deal was signed by the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) and the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association following a virtual meeting, though the agreement was organised through diplomatic channels, APBI said in a statement.“This effort is a concrete step of the Indonesian and Chinese government in celebrating the 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” APBI said.The deal paves the way for long-term coal supply from Indonesia and increased trade between the two countries, and will help Southeast Asia’s largest economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to APBI.Indonesia, Australia and Russia are the three biggest suppliers of seaborne thermal coal to China, while Australia and Mongolia dominate exports of coking coal, which is used in steel furnaces. Power stations use thermal coal as fuel.In context, China’s lift in the quota of thermal coal to 20 million tonnes is small compared to its annual import of about 300 million tonnes of both coking and thermal coal.Domestic circulation isn’t just about encouraging demand ... Energy and food security are critical to thisGavin ThompsonAccording to S&P; Global Platts, utilities in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces were allocated a total of 4 million tonnes of the new quota, while 3 million tones will go to Jiangsu end users, following increased inquiries for Indonesian coal in the region. Power stations in Guangxi in southern China were also allocated 1.5 million tonnes. Other provinces await their allocations.There might also be additional quotas for coking coal imports, although this might be pointless given little chance for a quick turnaround of coking coal shipments before the end of December, S&P; Global Platts said.The lift in quotas is likely to remain a short-term fix given China’s push to reduce pollution and use cleaner fuels as part of its 2060 carbon neutrality target.That target, alongside China’s keenness to seek energy security as part of its “dual circulation” economic model, could also mean it was less inclined to lift large quotas or its ban on Australian coal quickly, analysts said.China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment this week started consulting on a draft carbon emission allowance and allocation plan for the power generation sector.“Domestic circulation isn’t just about encouraging demand. It also includes a strategic focus on strengthening self-sufficiency across the domestic economy. Energy and food security are critical to this,” Gavin Thompson, Asia-Pacific vice-chairman for energy at Wood Mackenzie, said in a noteChina’s Covid-19 recovery drives coal plant boom, casting doubt over fossil fuel cutsNearly US$500 million in Australian coal spread across more than 50 vessels has been stranded outside Chinese ports since June, according to analyses of shipping data by Bloomberg and data intelligence firm Kpler.China verbally suspended Australian thermal and coking coal imports last month. While many suspected the ban was due to deteriorating bilateral ties between the two nations, coal import quotas at Chinese ports were also exhausted for 2020.On Wednesday, however, the government indicated carriers bearing Australian coal shipments were delayed offshore because they did not pass China’s customs environmental quality standards.Despite the delays, Australia was China’s top coking coal supplier for the first half of the year.On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was working through its issues with the Chinese government.“It is incredibly complicated what we are dealing with here and we have the best people working on these issues,” he said during a local media interview.“But those tensions aren’t resolved by Australia surrendering its sovereignty.“We will respect others‘ sovereignty, and we expect nothing else in return other than ours to also be respected, as an individual sovereign state, who sets our laws about how we run Australia, here in Australia, consistent with our interests, not at the bequest or at the pressure of any other country.”China has also unofficially banned imports of six other Australian products namely sugar, barley, lobsters, wine, copper and log timber since the start of November while conducting an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine.Earlier this year, it imposed anti-dumping duties on Australian barley and suspended the imports of beef from five Australian meat processing plants due to mislabelling and contamination.More from South China Morning Post: * China could face Mongolia coal import shortage amid coronavirus lockdown, but supply disruptions unlikely * China’s ban on Australian coal causes surge in imports from Mongolia, but difficulties remain * Chinese steel mills begin ‘diverting’ Australian coking coal as Canberra seeks clarification on reported ban * Australia’s strong China coal exports exhausted quotas, justifying ban, but politics also at play, analysts say * China faces coal shortage as import restrictions, tighter environmental checks begin to biteThis article China lifts thermal coal import quota by 20 million tonnes, but Australia unlikely to gain first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A Turkish court jailed more than 300 former pilots and other suspects for life in a mass trial stemming from a bloody 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With the news of workable vaccines for COVID-19, these three businesses could enjoy a sharp recovery in 2021.The post 3 Blue-Chip Companies That Could See a Strong Recovery in 2021 appeared first on The Smart Investor.
More than 160 diamonds worth an estimated HK$6.5 million (US$840,000) have been seized during a Hong Kong customs inspection of a truck at a new border checkpoint, the largest bust of its kind in three years.The Shenzhen-bound haul, wrapped in a plastic bag and stuffed in the driver’s trouser pocket, was to be smuggled through the Heung Yuen Wai control point to avoid stringent import restrictions and mainland Chinese taxes amounting to between 10 and 20 per cent of the precious stones’ value, according to a law enforcement source.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The source said it followed a similar diamond-smuggling case from earlier in the year, prompting the local authorities to strengthen the inspection regime for cross-border vehicles at local control points amid fears that Covid-19 travel curbs were fuelling the illegal trade.Last month, HK$1 million worth of rough diamonds were detected when a Hong Kong-bound vehicle was stopped for inspection at Lok Ma Chau control point.The latest seizure was made at Heung Yuen Wai control point in northern Hong Kong on Thursday morning when a truck heading for Shenzhen was selected for a routine inspection. The border checkpoint opened in April.“A plastic bag, carrying 162 diamonds, was seized from the pocket of the driver’s trousers,” the source said. “Each diamond weighs around one carat and the haul is worth about HK$6.5 million.”A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempting to export unmanifested cargo – an offence carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a HK$2 million fine.In a follow-up raid of a Sham Shui Po flat on Thursday night, Customs and Excise Department officers arrested another man, also aged 33. Enormous diamond sells for HK$120 million at Sotheby’s auction in Hong KongAs of Friday afternoon, the two suspects were still being held for questioning and neither had been charged. Officers from customs’ syndicate crimes investigation bureau are handling the case.The source said he believed the diamonds were being taken to factories over the border, where they would be turned into jewellery for sale on the mainland market.He said mainland shoppers had been staying away from Hong Kong because of the mandatory quarantine orders and closure of major border checkpoints in place to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. Smuggler with 1,000 diamonds in his shoes trips up at border“But there is a high demand for luxury items such as diamonds and precious metal in mainland China and this creates a market for cross-border smugglers,” he said.He said customs officers would also enhance the exchange of intelligence with their mainland counterparts to combat cross-border, diamond-smuggling activities.Hong Kong customs foiled two diamond-running bids in 2019, seizing HK$1.17 million worth of the stones, but there were no reports of similar operations the year before.Officers took possession of HK$18 million worth of diamonds in four cases from 2017. The biggest seizure in recent years was in June that year when officers confiscated HK$11 million worth of diamonds.In March 2017, a smuggler was arrested after mainland officers found 1,000 diamonds hidden in his shoes at Luohu crossing, which links to Hong Kong’s Lo Wu control point. He was targeted for inspection because officers saw him walking on his tiptoes.More from South China Morning Post: * Smuggler from Hong Kong with 1,000 diamonds in his shoes trips up at Shenzhen border * Flawless 102-carat diamond sells for more than HK$120 million at Sotheby’s auction in Hong KongThis article Hong Kong customs seizes more than 160 diamonds worth HK$6.5 million from truck at Shenzhen border first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
President Donald Trump's announcement in May of plans to develop a Covid-19 vaccine by year's end is near realization -- despite a setback among one of the six candidates that the US supported.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to further deepen cooperation and promote a “digital Silk Road” with Southeast Asia as Beijing moves to cement its influence in the Asia-Pacific.The commitment comes just as the new US administration says it wants to pivot towards the region and resume a leadership role.In a recorded message on Friday, Xi also sought to assure the Asian leaders that China gave top priority to its relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), a 10-member regional bloc, and that as the only major growing economy, China would continue its opening-up strategy to drive the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a move and that would benefit Asean.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“China will unswervingly expand its opening up to the outside world, enhancing its domestic and international economic linkages, and driving the world’s common recovery through its own recovery, from which all countries in the world, including Asean, will benefit,” Xi said via video link to participants at the China-Asean Expo in the southwestern Chinese city of Nanning.“Looking to the future, there will be even more room for cooperation between China and Asean.”Xi’s remarks came just two days after US president-elect Joe Biden announced that his foreign policy agenda would see the United States retake its global leadership role and strengthen its alliances in the Asia-Pacific.On Friday, in another sign that Beijing is stepping up engagement with its neighbours, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up his trip to key US allies, Japan and South Korea, pledging that China would join the two nations to revive their pandemic-hit economies.Xi, who is the first Chinese president to give a keynote speech since the China-Asean Expo was established in 2004, told the summit that while the world was confronted by instability and uncertainty because of the rise of unilateralism and protectionism, China had made its relationship with Asean a priority. China to assess new prospects for Japan ties as Wang Yi meets PM Suga“China regards Asean as a priority in its neighbourhood diplomacy and a key area for high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Xi said referring to one of his pet projects to develop trade, investment and infrastructure along both the ancient maritime and land Silk Roads.“[China] supports Asean’s central position in East Asian cooperation, and supports Asean to play a greater role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture,” Xi said, adding that China would “actively consider” Asean’s need for Covid-19 vaccines.Xi also said China would continue to cooperate with Asean countries in the next five years on various areas, including infrastructure and public health, and would “positively consider the needs of Asean countries” when vaccines were ready. China may cut belt and road lending to ensure future of projectSpecifically, Xi said China could work with Asean countries to establish a “China-Asean digital port to promote digital connectivity, and build a ‘digital Silk Road’.”Beijing has sought closer ties with Asean, a regional grouping of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, to try to offset pressure from the protracted trade war launched by US President Donald Trump in 2018.This year, the 10-member bloc overtook the European Union as the largest trading partner to China, having also surpassed the US last year amid trade friction between the world’s largest economies.In what Beijing touted as a historic milestone in its economic integration with the region, China and the 10 countries of Asean, as well as Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, signed up to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free-trade bloc, earlier this month.The trade pact, which would see significant tariff cuts among member states in the next decade, could further expand China’s economic influence in the Asia-Pacific and counter pressure from the China-US economic decoupling.On Friday, Xi welcomed the signing of the RCEP – which covers about 30 per cent of the world’s population and gross domestic product – and said more measures were expected to ease regional travel and cargo transport when pandemic conditions improved.South China Sea: the dispute that could start a military conflictShi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said the need for China to improve ties with Asean and its member states had become more urgent as political, security and ideological tensions had risen with advanced countries.However, persistent disputes over the South China Sea remained a major problem between Beijing and oceanic Asean countries, Shi said.“There is no change in their positions on the South China Sea. The US has heavy influence on some oceanic Asean countries, though they also know it’s unrealistic for a hi-tech decoupling with China,” he said.“The future of China-Asean relations will be influenced by Biden’s policy over the South China Sea.”He added that the Asean members varied in their acceptance of Beijing’s digital Silk Road proposal.Wang Huiyao, director of the Centre for China and Globalisation, said cooperation on the digital economy was an extension of the growing economic engagement between Asean and China.He also said Biden’s return to multilateralism would open more channels for dialogue between China and the United States, with bilateral relations expected to follow the path of “cooperative competition”.Additional reporting by Wendy WuMore from South China Morning Post: * US and Taiwan promote alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative * Asean braces for Trump administration’s parting shot at China * South China Sea: China asks Asean for quick resolution to code of conduct * Asean can help avert South China Sea conflict amid ‘superpower rivalry’, Philippine defence minister saysThis article ‘Let’s build a digital Silk Road’: Xi Jinping looks to cement China’s ties with Asean first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Singapore said travellers from Finland and Turkey entering the city-state will be required to serve their 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities.
President Emmanuel Macron faces a major challenge to retain France's influence over resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, needing to take account of the large Armenian minority in his country and accused by Azerbaijan of bias.
Meng Wanzhou's defence lawyers leveled new allegations Thursday of a "cover up" by the most senior Canadian law enforcement official to testify so far in the Huawei executive's extradition hearing.
The head of British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca said on Thursday further research was needed on its Covid-19 vaccine after questions emerged over the protection it offers, but the additional testing is unlikely to affect regulatory approval in Europe.
President Xi Jinping has called on China’s top military brass to push forward the PLA’s modernisation by making “comprehensive and overall improvements” to training amid growing security challenges at home and abroad.Analysts said it was the latest indication that China’s military focus was shifting to training and command, integrating advanced weapons and equipment, as it seeks to turn the People’s Liberation Army into a modern fighting force.“There have been changes happening in China in national security, military struggles, missions, modern warfare patterns, as well as in the goals of defence and military modernisation,” Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, told senior commanders at a conference in Beijing on Wednesday.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“Military training has entered a new stage of all-around change, and it needs comprehensive and overall improvements. Strategic planning and design from the top level needs to be enhanced to push forward and transform military training,” he said.Xi’s speech came after the CMC issued new training guidelines that took effect on November 7. State news agency Xinhua said they were aimed at improving integration and joint operations across the PLA, and also highlighted the use of cutting-edge weapon systems.Defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a regular press briefing on Thursday the guidelines were aimed at “responding to major changes … including global hegemony, power politics and unilateralism” and developments in modern warfare.Details were not released, but according to a military insider more than 70 per cent of the new guidelines were based on those used by the United States military for its joint operations.China’s ruling Communist Party wants the PLA to be a modernised force by 2027, and a world-class military by 2050.Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said Xi’s remarks aimed to push PLA commanders to strengthen combat training and get troops used to hi-tech weapons and equipment including advanced tanks, aircraft and warships.“China is facing a number of challenges both at home and overseas – for example, the situation in the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea, the border with India,” Zhou said. “These situations have been changing in recent years, and China’s top commanders need to come up with forward-looking, strategic training plans so the troops are combat-ready.”He also said that more than 30 per cent of frontline personnel were university educated and had better hi-tech knowledge than many of the senior PLA commanders.“This has pushed the top leadership to upgrade their own modern warfare strategies,” he said.Increasing US military activity near Taiwan had also put pressure on the PLA to improve training, according to Zhou. US bombers enter Chinese air defence zone as Beijing’s navy mounts massive exercisesThat view was echoed by Hong Kong-based military expert Liang Guoliang, who said escalating China-US tensions over the South China Sea, which had seen the US stepping up surveillance operations, posed a threat to the PLA.“As well as the US challenge, the recent border skirmishes between Azerbaijan and Armenia where drones have been deployed will be a lesson for the PLA on what modern warfare looks like,” Liang said.“It’s well-known that the PLA has a lot of new weapons, including the new-generation J-20 stealth fighter jets and drones, but it’s still not clear whether these ‘new toys’ have already been integrated with the military’s routine training.”More from South China Morning Post: * China’s H-20 stealth bomber will give PLA ‘truly intercontinental’ strike capacity, says report * US actions could raise risk of war over Taiwan, warns Chinese leading military researcher * Chinese military testing home-made engines for Y-20 transport planes that will allow them to carry most advanced 99A tanks to battlefieldThis article China’s military: Xi Jinping tells top brass to ‘transform’ training amid security challenges first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Singapore’s civil servants will not receive their year-end bonus payment this year due to the economic downturn caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Dressed in impeccable camouflage fatigues with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders, Russian peacekeepers stand guard along the last road linking Armenia with the restive region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A Malaysian family have cooked up a tasty solution to their economic woes during the pandemic by opening a backyard pizzeria that has proved a hit in their sleepy village.
Hong Kong’s beleaguered leader has declared she now holds great confidence in the relationship between the government and legislature following a Beijing ruling which resulted in the mass resignation of local opposition lawmakers.Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday also revealed that she would not have forged ahead with scrapping double stamp duty on commercial property purchases in her policy address a day earlier if the pan-democrats still held their seats. Five key takeaways from Carrie Lam’s longest-ever Hong Kong policy addressIn what Lam called the “return of peace”, her high-profile annual speech on Wednesday to the Legislative Council and the following day’s question and answer session was free of the protests and heckling that had punctuated previous ones.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“My confidence in the relationship between the executive branch and the legislature has resumed, at least for now with the new legal framework,” Lam told a radio show on Thursday, referring to Beijing’s resolution on lawmaker conduct passed earlier in the month.“I am more willing to go to Legco from now on to communicate with lawmakers.”China’s top legislative body endorsed a resolution on November 11 making it easier for the local authorities to remove lawmakers deemed to have engaged in a range of acts such as endangering national security and dishonouring their pledge of allegiance.It led to the immediate unseating of four opposition legislators, which in turn triggered 15 colleagues to quit in protest.Lam later on Thursday took questions from a dozen pro-establishment lawmakers at the legislature, following up on the policy address and mainly focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic and housing.In her opening remarks at that session, Lam said: “I am very confident today because I am facing a rational and pragmatic Legco.“I reiterated that the executive and legislative bodies must perform their own duties – to check and balance and cooperate.”While she encountered snippets of criticism during questioning from some pro-establishment lawmakers at Thursday’s 1½-hour session, the proceedings had none of the hostility of previous years, when there were outbursts of barracking and even full-blown protests from the opposition.A few accused her administration’s annual policy blueprint of lacking short-term relief measures to deal with most pressing issues in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.But the lawmakers generally prefaced their inquiries by referring to Lam’s proposals as “visionary” and “comprehensive”. One even called her “superwoman”.Wearing a floral qipao and grey blazer, the chief executive entered the chamber without interruption, just as she did a day earlier for the policy address.Occasionally flashing a smile at the lectern, she declared: “I am happy to come to the Legislative Council more.”“The return of peace in Legco has helped us greatly,” she said, adding that proceedings in the presence of opposition lawmakers had been dogged by filibustering.“Not only my colleagues have more time to focus on different policies, I would say, if I am not facing such a Legco like the current one, the abolition of commercial property tax would not appear in my policy address.”For the policy to take effect immediately, the government has to issue an interim order. But if the accompanying legislation cannot pass Legco within four months of that order being made, officials must re-establish the system for collecting the duties until the bill finally clears the legislature.“Today, we are confident,” she said, on the basis there was no opposition bloc to deploy delaying tactics in the chamber.Lam revealed to lawmakers her intention to resume a monthly 30-minute question and answer session previously suspended due to the deterioration of her relationship with opposition members. Hong Kong leader warns against anti-mainland stigma over youth job schemeThe chief executive also said she would not shy away from confrontation, such as taking on doctors accused by the pro-establishment camp of causing shortages of medical staff through their protectionism.Leaping on a lawmaker’s question about doctor shortages, Lam vowed to press ahead with bringing overseas physicians to the city, despite expecting condemnation from the Medical Council for doing so.“This is a war we must fight. But whether it can be a peaceful one without smoke from firearms will depend on our colleagues from the medical sector,” Lam said.She explained that the sight of kindergarten-age children with learning difficulties not being assessed for treatment because of a lack of paediatricians had fuelled her urge to reform the system.The government aims to attract Hong Kong-born doctors who train and practise overseas, or those whose parents are from the city.However, it was not all plain-sailing for Lam, with many pro-establishment lawmakers concerned about whether the administration had done enough to curtail the health crisis, as the progress of this was key to reopening borders with mainland China.Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun urged Lam to adopt Covid-19 testing methods with higher accuracy levels and impose more rigorous measures on incoming travellers.Tien also said he was not in the chamber to “harm her”, after he mentioned a day ago that it was clear Lam’s policy address was being used as a platform to promote her 2022 re-election bid.“I do not have such intention”, she said on her motivation for the policy address.Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, lawmaker for the commercial sector, offered his full support to Lam.“You are better than a superwoman, chief executive, being so combative. We support you,” he said.But he also expressed concern that Lam would struggle with the weight of the workload and proposed streamlining the government’s system to give her better oversight. More concrete measures required to rebuild confidence of Hong KongLam’s appearances this week before an opposition-free legislature followed Beijing’s resolution earlier this month to disqualify four lawmakers – the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngor-kiu, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki, and Professional Guilds’ Kenneth Leung – for unpatriotic conduct.That decision led to the resignation of the remaining 15 opposition lawmakers, leaving Lam able to deliver her longest of the four speeches she has given since taking the helm in 2017, without interruption or protest.She touched on a range of issues, from constitutional order to housing and closer integration with the mainland during a policy address lasting 2½ hours.Abraham Razack, a lawmaker representing the real estate and the construction industries, told Lam that despite the vocal disdain from a few, most of society supported her.“Whether the public likes me or not has never been the basis of my policymaking. It’s all about implementing ‘one country, two systems’ and in the interest of the public,” Lam replied, referring to governing principle through which Beijing promises Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warns against anti-mainland China stigma over policy address’ youth job scheme * Big bang or damp squib? Why Hong Kong leader’s 2020 policy address may not really be the confidence booster a weary city needs * More concrete measures required to rebuild confidence of Hong KongThis article Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declares ‘return of peace’ to Legco, restored faith in political system after Beijing’s lawmakers ruling first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Joe Biden’s choice of Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations is the latest signal that he will seek to re-engage with international bodies but while this may herald a change of tone towards China, many observers believe the administration will seek to keep up the pressure over issues such as human rights, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran diplomat, could use the UN as a forum to hold Beijing to account, but the Biden White House is also expected to keep some doors open and work with China in the fight against climate change – one of the president-elect’s main priorities.Biden and Thomas-Greenfield have already moved to draw a sharp distinction between themselves and the Trump administration, which has been criticised for its “America first” approach and backing away from international institutions and treaties.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back,” Thomas-Greenfield said on Tuesday following her appointment.She also pledged to “break down barriers, connect, and see each other as humans” in a tweet two days later.The current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scoffed at the Thomas-Greenfield appointment during an interview with Breitbart news on Tuesday.“Multilateralism for the sake of hanging out with your buddies at a cool cocktail party, that’s not in the best interest of the United States of America,” Pompeo said in response to her Tuesday remarks. How Biden’s administration will engage with China on key issuesAnalysts said Biden’s plans to give his UN envoy full cabinet status – which current ambassador Kelly Craft does not have – is a sign that the new administration is stepping up its engagement with international agencies.Under Trump, the US took on other countries on issues such as Iranian sanctions to quitting the World Health Organization, a move Biden has pledged to reverse.“The Trump administration’s rejection of multilateralism has left a leadership and financial vacuum for other states, like China, to fill at the United Nations,” said Courtney Fung, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Hong Kong and an associate fellow at Chatham House.“Repairing a damaged US reputation, rebuilding relationships with multilateral partners, and wisely using diplomatic and financial capital are tough tasks ahead for Biden’s UN team – after all, multilateral politics has gone on in spite of Trump’s multilateral withdrawal,” she said.But China-US tensions are expected to continue and play out at the UN, Li Mingjiang, an assistant professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said.“Washington will very keep up the pressure on the whole gamut of human rights issues, as the Trump administration has at the UN, from Xinjiang to Hong Kong,” said Li. Xi Jinping sends congratulations to US president-elect Joe BidenThe Trump administration called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in May to discuss Hong Kong, but the effort was blocked by China.But Thomas-Greenfield will probably have to reach out to China to achieve Biden’s goals on climate change, Li said.“If the Biden administration wants to play a bigger role, it will find itself in a position where it has to cooperate with China on some level, otherwise multilateral cooperation will end in deadlock,” said Li.Thomas-Greenfield, an African affairs specialist, has said little about China during her long career as a diplomat.In 2006, when she was deputy assistant secretary for African affairs, Thomas-Greenfield said she was not concerned about China’s growing interest in Africa, but the US would be watching China “very closely”.“There is lots of room for every country to do trade and development in Africa,” she said at the time.Atul Alexander, assistant professor of law at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, said the US’s approach towards the UN may not shift significantly.“While the Trump administration has been a staunch supporter of Israel, it is possible that China and the US may find themselves both in favour of future general assembly resolutions on Israeli violence against Palestinians, but we will have to see,” said Alexander.More from South China Morning Post: * Joe Biden’s foreign policy team to reject Trump’s ‘America First’ mantra * Joe Biden cabinet: John Kerry as climate tsar ‘may cool US-China tensions’This article Joe Biden’s UN pick signals ‘diplomacy is back’, but does this mean a new approach to China? first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
On this episode, veteran journalist Bertha Henson speaks about her book "GE2020: Fair Or Foul?", the state of the media and Singapore's political future.