Global financial markets are facing a stark wake-up call that they need to unite to stand against acts of what can only be described as economic terrorism by a country which unilaterally imposes its will on others and pursues its own goals at the cost of the interests of others.

More than a year after US President Donald Trump fired the first tariff salvo at China, he is extending the battlefield around the world. On Friday, his administration announced that it will end special trade treatment for India, removing a status that exempts billions of dollars of the South Asian country’s products from US tariffs. Trump is seriously mulling slapping tariffs on Mexican imports as he believes the country has taken advantage of the US for decades.

Even close allies cannot trust they will be exempt from Trump’s tariff addiction. It was reported that the administration considered imposing tariffs on imports from Australia, but eventually decided against the move amid opposition from his aides, “at least temporarily.”

Obviously, Trump, a businessman-turned president, is aiming his trigger finger regardless of the targets, be they US competitors or allies. Trump grumbles about his country subsidizing the world and weakening US industry and pledges to make America great again. But he doesn’t realize that a great superpower is supposed to provide public goods rather than resorting to coercion for selfish gains. His tactics are nothing short of economic terrorism.

The International Air Transport Association has estimated that the US-China trade war and high fuel prices will wipe $7.5 billion off expected airline profits in 2019. This is just the figure from the airline industry, which is enough to show the disastrous impact the US-initiated economic terrorism has on the globe. Trump may disrupt the global supply chain with the US’ economic clout, but how can a disrupted global supply chain serve the US’ strategic objectives of being a great country?

What is worse, before the US becomes great again as the president wishes, he is actually employing the strategy of blocking other countries to take the lead, as we see in his actions in quashing Huawei’s 5G advancement.

Later this month, leaders from the world’s top economies will meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan to discuss key economic issues that plague the world. The conventional views of globalization and its benefits are still shared by most countries, and many countries and regions are continuing to open their economies. They should unite to face the chaos created by the Trump administration and find a way forward, so the process of globalization will not be held hostage by the US’ economic terrorism.

The US Department of Defense released its Indo-Pacific Strategy Report over the weekend. Now that the theoretical framework of the strategy is complete, there remain uncertainties about how the rhetoric will translate into reality.

US, Japan, Australia and India are the pillars of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. But currently, the role of the key player – India – is missing. The Australian Defense Force is relatively small with about 60,000 full-time active-duty personnel. As for Japan, it hosts 23 US military bases. The active and reserve personnel of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces stand at 300,000, most of who are deployed in Northeast Asia and can hardly focus on the mission of containing China. Therefore, the US must woo India to join its strategic canvas.

At the Shangri-La Dialogue, US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan boasted of US strength by saying that it has more than 370,000 service members in the Indo-Pacific region and the US Pacific Command has four times more assigned forces than any other geographic combatant command.

However, even with a fairly large deployment, the US has so far failed to form a Cold War-like quasi-alliance in the Indo-Pacific region.

This is where we see room for the improvement of China-India relations. During the Doklam border standoff in 2017, China’s leadership exercised restraint and eventually the crisis ended peacefully. Bilateral relations, which had almost gone to the edge of the cliff, are back to normal.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was absent from this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue. His keynote speech at last year’s gathering disappointed Americans.

Modi had said that India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a club of limited members or directed against any country.

On the one hand, as an independent state that sticks to non-alignment, India is poised to show an upright posture. On the other, the Indo-Pacific Command does not suit India’s interest.

India has the desire to dominate the Indian Ocean. The biggest obstacle to this ambition is the US, not China. While the US wants to inject its influence into the Indian Ocean and New Delhi aims to play a dominant role in the region, there are bound to be strains.

When former US defense secretary Leon Panetta visited India in 2012, he urged closer military relations with the US, while Indian leaders stayed cool to aligning strategically with Washington. Although the Pentagon chiefs keep changing, the essence of the US’ Indo-Pacific strategy has not changed.

While the US wants to use India to keep China in check, it is wary of New Delhi’s ambition in the Indian Ocean. The Indo-Pacific Command ranges from the US’ West Coast all the way to the west coast of India. India will not give in to the US move of stepping into its sphere of influence.

And this is the core of US’ Indo-Pacific strategy. Despite the rhetoric, implementing it is difficult. The US wants to dominate the world by aiming high, nonetheless it lacks the power to do so.

Shanahan said during the Shangri-La Dialogue that no one nation can, or should, dominate the Indo-Pacific, which implicitly pointed to China, but this applies to the US itself.

Even before China’s ban, the amount of plastic waste recycled globally was a mere 9 percent. The World Bank, in its 2018 report “What a Waste 2.0,” forecast that global waste will increase some 70 percent in the next three decades.

According to a Yale University report, the US is struggling to deal with its garbage mountains. Some communities have stopped recycling programs and others are burning more waste or sending more to landfill. Australia is struggling to deal with its waste and in the UK, incineration rates have increased.

China has plans to make every community properly recycle and sort their garbage, but so far efficient recycling is sometime away.

Some experts are optimistic that the ban in Asian nations will lead to more investment in recycling technology. There is certainly appetite for this among consumers as people become more aware of plastic pollution.

The EU will ban single-use plastics by 2021. Some displaced Chinese recyclers have announced a move to the US. The Basel Convention, an international treaty on movement of waste across borders will be amended to ban contaminated and unrecyclable waste from being exported to developing nations without their permission. Other nations have strict bans on plastic bags – after Rwanda and Kenya enacted bans, Tanzania on Saturday became the latest to prohibit single-use plastic bags, warning that tourists must give them up before arrival in the country.

Some individual communities have managed to reduce waste and achieve high levels of recycling with low rates of contamination. Slovenian capital Ljubljana has achieved an impressive 68 percent recycling rate by introducing high tech plants to deal with trash, and by focusing on community efforts to deal with the issue.

Ljubljana isn’t so big as London, New York or Shanghai, so efforts have to be scaled up immensely, and it will require a lot of education. But what the recent experience in Southeast Asia should show all of us is that we can’t just decide to dump our trash on other people – they are already dealing with enough of their own. It is disheartening to think that the garbage you proudly separate in the UK could end up poisoning a river in Malaysia or Vietnam.

How many hours do you spend on your mobile phone every day? A report released at the seventh China Internet Audio & Video Convention on May 27 in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, puts the average screen time of Chinese netizens in 2018 at about 5 hours 40 minutes, one hour more than the previous year. Video dominates Chinese people’s web browsing on mobile phones, says the report. The number of video website users in China has reached 725 million. In particular, with the abrupt rise of short video platforms such as Tik Tok, short video has surpassed long video in terms of screen time for the first time, subverting audio-visual communication trend. Rapid pace, fragmentation, and straightforwardness are becoming the trend. Fast-developing internet and technology does offer people considerable convenience, but may at the same time cause alienation and isolation. If we spend almost a quarter of a day on phone, how many hours do we have to give our family company? Filled with “fast food,” can our brains digest any more deep thinking? These are problems worth pondering.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Shangri-La Dialogue on Friday appealed to China and the US to “find a constructive way forward” rather than engaging in conflict. His remarks reflected Asia-Pacific countries’ anxiety over been pressured to take sides amid escalating tensions between the world’s biggest two economies.

The US has upgraded its Cold War style strategic constraint on China. Washington has seriously affected regional stability by trying to force Asia-Pacific governments to take sides.

We oppose the US forging confrontation. It ignores regional countries’ desire of steady development and could eventually jeopardize their national interests. Peaceful and stable surroundings are important for China to develop. To safeguard its own and regional interests, Beijing cannot leave Washington’s Cold War mind-set alone or let it succeed in starting a cold war.

It is a natural and rational choice for China to promote relations with neighboring and regional countries. We do not have a Cold War mind-set to confront one another. Our goal is to advance cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region to form a mutually beneficial community with a shared future and to dissolve cold war risks.

In the past four decades of reform and opening-up, China has made outstanding achievements, and has been constantly contributing to peace, stability and development in Asia-Pacific. China unswervingly adheres to an independent foreign policy of peace, considers the needs of middle and small countries, and respects every country as independent.

The current situation could provide an opportunity for China’s neighboring diplomacy. Beijing should expand cooperation and advance regional common development.

The Belt and Road Initiative attends to Asia-Pacific countries’ desire for progress. It could be an ideal platform for China to show its openness and inclusiveness and build broader regional cooperation. China’s rapid economic growth can back neighboring countries to withstand pressure from the US and not take sides.

China should also accelerate its pace in coordinating specific issues with neighboring countries, such as consulting on the development of the 5G network, upgrading the free trade zone between China and ASEAN, properly settling the China-India trade imbalance, and pushing forward the negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

This is the biggest difference between China and the US in coping with the trade war. China doesn’t engage in cold war confrontation but in common development. Asia-Pacific countries should keep their eyes sharp and see that the US is not only splitting the region but also adopting economic unilateralism and economic terrorism.

Asia has entered a crucial stage of development. Its economic growth has become an important impetus for the world. If Asian countries are engaged in a cold war, they will regress. Therefore, Asian countries must create an inclusive economic system to further deepen cooperation and advance economic growth.

China has always been ready for constructive cooperation with the US. The problem is whether the US is willing to treat China fairly and make adjustments that will benefit China, the US and the rest of the world.

The debate between Fox Business’ Trish Regan and China Global Television Network (CGTN)’s Liu Xin began around 8:30 on Thursday (Beijing time) and lasted only 16 minutes, much shorter than people had expected. The debate went more like an interview where Regan kept throwing questions and Liu responded.

Before the debate started, other topics and an advertisement were broadcast, including a long talk by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido. After the event, Michael Pillsbury from Washington DC-based Hudson Institute, who is known for his anti-China stance, appeared to make his comments.

The international community has shown interest in the debate mainly because of the conflict between China and the US, which has gone far beyond being a squabble to do with trade. There is increasingly intense exchange of opinions but both sides barely conceded to each other’s stance.

A straight-out face-to-face talk between the two anchors would have been generally welcomed, although there are some people who just wanted to be bystanders.

Anyway, the debate has made headlines. This shows that there was too little effective communication between Beijing and Washington. The US is a country where the press is largely free but their reports about the trade war and China have been colored with views of the US political elite. The voice that reflects China’s views can hardly spread in the US. American media outlets would censor China’s voices to fit the agenda set by the US administration, thus rendering the message going across almost ineffectual.

There were no big flaws in the anchors’ performance in the debate. Regan was aggressive while talking about China in an earlier broadcast, but this time she was restrained – more like an anchor. In the meantime, Liu was humble and candid. The whole dialogue was cordial.

What they talked about was not surprising – the possibility of zero tariffs between China and the US, disputes about intellectual property, and whether China is a developing or developed country. When the debate began, Regan introduced Liu as a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), but Liu corrected Regan by saying that she was not, “Please don’t assume that I’m a member. And I don’t speak for the CPC. Here, today, I’m only speaking for myself as Liu Xin, a journalist working for CGTN.”

This has demonstrated that Regan, as well as many other US media staff, don’t understand how the Chinese system led by the CPC works. They have taken many things for granted. Such misunderstanding colors US public opinion about China.

Apparently, the brief dialogue came short on being thorough. It was far from meeting people’s expectation. But it was still regarded as conducive. It is better to make such efforts rather than desisting from trying to have effective communication between China and the US.

We hope the debate could remind people of the importance of China-US talks and help the two countries get rid of political shackles and utilitarianism in consultations and strive to break the estrangement.

Have the anchors set a good example? It depends on what happens in the future. We hope people can say “yes” when they look back someday.

US President Donald Trump wrapped up his four-day state visit to Japan on Tuesday and is expected to return for the G20 Osaka summit at the end of June. It will be the first time that a US president would make two visits to the Northeast Asian nation in two consecutive months. This reflects a new development in alliance politics, bringing to the fore Japan’s hope of expanding its strategic autonomy while keeping its alliance with the US stable.

For the US, good relations with Japan will help take away from the unease of strained ties with Europe. Since Trump took office, the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Iran nuclear deal has created unprecedented tensions between the US and Europe.

At the Munich Security Conference in February, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Vice President Mike Pence traded criticism on national security and trade. Despite Pence alleging that the US’ European allies violated US sanctions on Iran, Merkel was assertive about wanting to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. She also pushed back against Pence’s rebukes on Nord Stream 2.

As for trade, Merkel scoffed at US allegations that German carmaker BMW represented a threat to US national security, stressing that the Bavarian car giant’s largest plant was in the US.

As cross-Atlantic relations worsen, doubts inevitably arise about Trump’s approach to diplomacy. Strengthening the alliance with Asian countries will help alleviate this pressure. Trump’s two visits to Japan further show the solid relationship between the US and Asia. To attenuate the effect of a rift with Europe, the US may push Japan to make new commitments, which can help Trump’s reelection.

For Japan, the visit serves several purposes in domestic and foreign policy. First, Trump is the first world leader to meet with Japan’s new emperor, which highlights that the country’s alliance with the US remains its diplomatic cornerstone. The media’s massive coverage on the golf game between Trump and Abe and the Abe administration’s Izakaya diplomacy makes the Japanese feel that the administration is doing his due job.

Second, the meeting with Trump provided an excellent opportunity for the new emperor and empress to make their debut at international events. Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua became the first diplomat to meet the new Japanese emperor, and Trump the first foreign leader to meet the monarch. This shows that relations among China, the US and Japan are likely to be the highlight of the emperor’s diplomacy.

At the same time, by organizing the meetings, Abe has proved his diplomatic credentials and helped cement the relationship between the government and the royal family.

Third, US relations with major powers are under strain, creating risks as well as significant strategic opportunities for Japan. Therefore, when seizing the opportunity to expand the strategic space for diplomacy, Tokyo needs to stabilize the bond with the US.

Japan-China relations have seen rapid improvement in the past two years. However, deteriorating US-China relations may throw Japan in a dilemma. Tokyo is unwilling to see its newly improved ties with China being disrupted by the US. Thus, stable relations with the US help create more strategic autonomy for Japan in its diplomacy with China.

While advocating “a total reassessment of Japan’s postwar diplomacy,” Abe lays emphasis on the policy with Russia. This also demands close ties with the US so that Japan can maintain diplomatic independence when developing relations with Russia.

At the same time, after last year’s dramatic changes on the Korean Peninsula, Japan is the only member of the Six-Party Talks that has not actively engaged in bilateral talks with the North Korean leadership.

However, Trump’s efforts to solve the abduction issue and renew talks between Japan and North Korea will help the Abe administration deflect criticism of its policy toward North Korea.

According to media reports, Abe has strongly recommended Trump as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Behind this lies Japan’s intention of expecting support from the US on its stance on Russia and North Korea.

Fourth, consolidating the Japan-US alliance helps Tokyo expand its diplomatic footprint, allowing it to play a role in major international issues. After summit talks with Abe, Trump said at a press conference that nobody wanted to see terrible things happen in Iran, while Abe suggested Japan would play a role in promoting regional peace and stability. When Abe mentioned his plan to visit Iran during their summit talks, it seemed that Trump agreed to let Japan mediate. If Abe successfully visits Iran, Japan’s international presence will get a fillip at the upcoming G20 summit. And it also means that Japan will begin participating in major international affairs with a newfound standing.

It was reported by Japanese media recently that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would visit Iran in mid-June. Citing government sources, leading Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said that during the recent visit to Japan, US President Donald Trump supported Abe’s decision to mediate US-Iran tensions. If Abe visits Iran, he will be the first prime minister to go to the Middle East nation since the visit of Japanese prime minister Takeo Fukuda in 1978. What’s behind Abe’s decision to visit Tehran? What will be the effects of such a visit?

Tokyo and Washington are traditional allies with aligned diplomatic, military and security interests. At the same time, Japan has good relations with Middle Eastern countries, Iran being one of them. Japan is a country with scarce natural resources. However, as the third largest economy, Japan needs a large amount of energy to develop. It relies on importing oil and gas, a huge amount of which is from Middle East nations.

Japan’s Middle East diplomacy is essentially energy diplomacy. Iran is one of Japan’s major exporters of energy. According to The Diplomat, Tehran was Tokyo’s sixth largest crude supplier in 2017.

Thus, Japan has its own interests in Iran, as it has a huge demand for energy from this Persian Gulf nation. Except for being in line with Washington over politics with these countries, Tokyo’s interest in Middle Eastern countries rests on the requirement of energy. Therefore, Japan has an economic dependency on Iran and cannot afford to enter into a standoff with countries rich in energy.

Furthermore, in recent years, Japan has been seeking to be a great power in politics, over and above exercising significant economic influence. Japan shows a proclivity to participate in not only East Asian, but also international affairs such as mediating US-Iran tensions. This shows that Tokyo intends to augment its international standing and make its voice heard globally.

It is a challenge for Japan to balance its political and economic interests as it needs to be politically consistent with the US while satisfying its energy demand.

The Trump administration has heightened tensions with Iran by imposing economic sanctions. Besides the nuclear issue, other reasons, for instance the Islamic Republic’s style of governance, also contributed to Washington-Tehran dispute. However, Trump said on May 27 that Washington is not looking for a “regime change” in Tehran.

With escalating US-Iran tensions, Abe’s visit can further cement Japan’s alliance with the US and deepen ties with Iran. By taking advantage of its relations with Tehran, Abe can play a role in mediating their tensions. He would convey Washington’s views to Tehran. However, it remains to be seen how good a mediator can Japan be.

At home in the UK recently, in my mother’s house, we assiduously separated her household trash into recyclable and non-recyclable, washed out the cans and took the caps off the plastic bottles, congratulating ourselves that we were doing our bit for the environment, as we tipped the trash into the special blue recycling bins the local council provides to each household. I even took some old cellphones and spectacles back from China, because I knew I could take them to charity shops, who could recycle them for money.

But it turns out all is not well in the rotting kingdom (not a metaphor for Brexit). It seems that much of the solid waste put out for recycling is not being recycled. Either because waste companies are not doing their jobs properly, or they are overwhelmed by the amount of trash, or because consumers are not sorting out garbage properly. Non-recyclables, tossed carelessly in with the recyclables makes the whole lot useless. And this poorly sorted garbage has apparently been finding its way to Asia.

Now countries are starting to kick out their foreign trash mountains. The Philippines has been in dispute with Canada for five years over 69 containers of what they say is 1,500 tons of contaminated trash – useless for recycling. The issue caused a diplomatic spat, which has now culminated in Ottawa agreeing to take back the household waste – originally said to be plastics for recycling. Authorities in Malaysia said they would no longer accept imports of waste, after tons of trash was found to be illegally flooding the country. Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin told media that Malaysia is not the “dumping ground of the world.”

Even in China, where imports of plastic waste from overseas have dropped to almost zero, other forms of illegal waste have been imported. On May 22, customs authorities at Dalian port, Liaoning Province, sent back over 688 tons of smuggled aluminum waste, believed to have come from Australia, CGTN reported.

For years, European nations, the US and Australia, have been deflecting their waste problems onto others. China’s decision to stop accepting certain categories of solid waste, particularly plastics, is laudable. According to the National Geographic, since 1992, China has taken in 45 percent of the world’s trash. In 2016, Japan was the biggest supplier of plastic waste imports, followed by the US. However, much of the trash China took in also came from countries in the region – followed by Germany, Belgium and surprisingly, the Philippines itself. Other middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, exported more waste in 2016 to China than did the UK or Spain.

Earlier, China’s developing industries could use the raw materials, which became an easy option for both companies and cities in the West to ship their waste away. The downside was that recycling technology remained undeveloped. But this changed in 2018 when China decided to receive no more trash. Global supply chains scrambled to find an alternative and Southeast Asian countries took up the slack.

Greenpeace, in a report focusing on Malaysia titled “The Recycling Myth” found unregulated dumping sites of imported “recycling” from all over the planet. There were Starbucks cups and cosmetics packaging. The waste came from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland. Greenpeace investigators found plastic waste from 19 countries, the US being on top, followed by Japan. Much of this was burned in illegal factories.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thumping victory on May 23 reflects the power of nationalism in an ascendant nation. Such a sentiment led voters to re-elect Modi and vest their future in him.

Modi’s victory has come about more because of his image as a strong politician.

India badly needs a strongman politician. The country is anxious for rapid development. Indians are keen on realizing in short time the great dream – build India into a developed economy – they have had since independence from British suzerainty in 1947.

The Indian population is largely young. The number of Indians under the age of 35 accounts for more than 60 percent of the population. The majority of over 80 million new voters in the general election are young people who have just gained the right to vote.

These young people, who know more about modernization than their predecessors, are full of passion for modernizing India. The young people don’t want to stagnate, but help bring about transformation, which is the repository of hope for India. They have deeply nurtured by nationalism, especially Hindu nationalism.

India does need a strong leader to break through some of the drawbacks that have percolated into the national fabric over the years, regardless of the interference of some interest groups, so that it can advance reforms that have been impossible to implement for years.

Meanwhile, as a strong prime minister, the 68-year old Modi will encounter another challenge in his next term over five years – how to improve India’s relations with Pakistan.

The two problems are related to China. Economic opening-up and policy integration among all states will benefit economic and trade cooperation with China, especially when some Chinese enterprises are seeking opportunities to go global. Complex ties with Pakistan have always affected India’s view on China, impeding cooperation in economy and trade. India has not participated in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

To a large extent, Modi’s victory did not stem from the fact that he delivered the promises he made five years ago, especially the promise of development and providing more jobs, but because he was playing the security card during the election.

During the election, terrorist attacks occurred in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. More importantly, clashes in Kashmir between India and Pakistan made quite a few voters feel that only a strong and domineering leader like Modi can bring Indian people the sense of security.

Some foreign observers contend that Modi winning his second five-year term in office may become a rare opportunity for improving India-Pakistan relations. On May 26, Modi received a congratulatory phone call from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first telephone conversation between the two leaders since the air strikes in February. This is a good start.

However, incidents of hate crime have been seen after the election. And Indian people’s hostility toward Pakistan can be sensed on the internet.

The strong leader that Modi is, he can of course rein in impulsive nationalism, further open up India’s economy and improve ties with Pakistan. But his strength is closely linked to nationalism, populism and the revival of Hinduism. That being said, Modi’s rule might turn out to be more nationalistic given the constraints of other powerful forces. It may hinder further opening-up and secularization, and deepen the sense of distrust and hostility between the people of India and Pakistan.