On January 25, 2018, I gave an interview to the Inquiry program of the BBC World Service on China’s claims to the South China Sea. The program also features interviews from three other experts on the economic, strategic and diplomatic aspects of the South China Sea disputes. Listen to it here.
No major change is likely to occur in China’s policy towards Southeast Asia in Xi’s second term, but the perceived policy success during his first term and a new confidence are likely to generate a new push to achieve even greater gains.
President Xi Jinping has emerged out of last month’s 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party as a new paramount leader of China on a par with Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Deng Xiaoping, engineer of the reform policy that has delivered China’s economic rise. It is an extraordinary measure of his dominance in Chinese politics that he is the first living leader to be named as a guide for the party since Mao died in 1976. With ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ written into the party constitution, he now—along with Marx, Lenin, Mao and Deng—defines the meaning of Chinese Communism. As The Economist puts it, ‘The congress has consolidated his authority not just for five years but, in effect, for life.’