Xi Jinping Stresses Cooperation and Power – Enduring Contradiction?

Supported by Chinese officials and authoritative commentary, President Xi Jinping continued a moderate and cooperative posture toward Southeast Asia in early 2018, reaching a highpoint in Xi’s keynote address on April 10 at the annual Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province. Then, the posture switched dramatically to the surprise of many at home and abroad. On April 12, Xi appeared in military uniform addressing troops in the South China Sea participating in the largest naval review in China’s history. In an article for Comparative Connections, authors Robert G Sutter and (Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Fellow) Chin-Hao Huang write that–in sending a signal to the United States, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, and others challenging Chinese activities in the South China Sea–the switch starkly showed the kind of power Beijing is prepared to use in pursuit of its national objectives.