19 August 2020
China’s top diplomat will visit Singapore and South Korea later this week as Beijing seeks to strengthen ties with its Asian neighbours amid an intensifying geopolitical rivalry with Washington. The two sides “plan to have talks on Saturday morning and luncheon consultations and to exchange opinions on issues of mutual concern such as South Korea-China coronavirus response cooperation, bilateral relations including high-level exchanges as well as the Korean peninsula and international security situations”, Kang said at a press briefing.
Dr Collin Koh, a Research Fellow with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said Beijing needed to go on a charm offensive to secure support in the region. “The context, and a key motivating factor, would of course be the current tensions between China and the US. Very naturally, being a critical ‘southern periphery’ of China, Southeast Asia is a region where Beijing needs to ensure it [is seen as a good neighbour] under these circumstances,” Koh said. “In other words, while the US, and to a lesser extent, Japan, are reaching out more to Southeast Asia, Beijing sees it as an essential move to engage in a countervailing charm offensive to secure its broader political, economic and security interests in the region.”
IDSS / Print
Last updated on 20/08/2020