East Asia Watch

South China Sea: Lessons in magnanimity from Qing emperors

Generosity towards smaller neighbours rather than a greater assertion of its dominance in the region would be the more productive course in Beijing's foreign policy

For the countries of Asean battling Covid-19, China's promise of 100 million face masks and 10 million protective suits, among other much-needed medical supplies, was a godsend.

These materials, to be supplied both as grant assistance and through commercial channels, were pledged by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a special virtual summit of Asean and its three regional partners - China, Japan and South Korea - last week.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2020, with the headline 'South China Sea: Lessons in magnanimity from Qing emperors'. Subscribe