How will Biden administration impact region?

25 Jan 2021

Straits Times, 25 Jan 2021, How will Biden administration impact region?

The road ahead for Mr Joe Biden will be busy - and bumpy - as America's freshly inaugurated 46th president looks to roll back Mr Donald Trump's isolationist policies and mend Washington's ties with its global partners.

What can countries in Asia expect from a new administration in the United States? And how will continuing competition for influence between America and China play out in the region?

These questions and more will be addressed in a webinar this Friday titled Geopolitical Reset 2021: Implications For Asia. It is presented by The Straits Times and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

After officially entering the Oval Office last Wednesday, Mr Biden has signed orders to start the process of rejoining the World Health Organisation and Paris climate accord. His moves are set to be well received by Asia's leaders. But several issues still need to be addressed.

While Mr Biden has acknowledged that Washington will work together with Beijing on issues where their interests converge, including climate change and global health security, he has also vowed to "get tough with China".

In the same vein, the webinar will discuss if Sino-US tensions on trade and technology will ease with a new administration, and if Mr Biden's proposed Summit for Democracy will be well received or pose more challenges for Asia.

Panellists at the webinar include Professor Chan Heng Chee, Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large and chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities; Professor Wang Gungwu, university professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS); and Mr George Yeo, senior adviser to Kuok Group and former Singapore foreign minister.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute, will also be a panellist. He was the first Singapore ambassador to serve on the United Nations Security Council and also served as founding dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Prof Chan is a former Singapore ambassador to the US, while Mr Yeo has taken on advisory roles in various organisations, including Peking University, Nalanda University, Mitsubishi Corp, AIA and Pinduoduo. Prof Wang is university professor at NUS' Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and a leading scholar on Sino-South-east Asian historical relations.

The webinar will be moderated by Straits Times associate editor Vikram Khanna. ST's US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh and China bureau chief Tan Dawn Wei will join in the conversation.

The webinar is being held in conjunction with the Davos Agenda 2021 week, which runs from today to Friday. The Davos event will see more than 1,500 business, government and civil society leaders from over 70 countries attending a series of virtual sessions to discuss global issues under the theme, "A crucial year to rebuild trust".