February 6, 2018        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Li Bin analyses the draft Nuclear Posture Review of the Trump Administration. Image credit – dinhhang / depositphotos



The China-Maldives Connection, The Diplomat, by Sudha Ramachandran, Independent Researcher and Journalist based in Bangalore

“Sino-Maldivian relations have grown remarkably since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the archipelago in September 2014.”

  • Sudha Ramachandran argues that India’s role in the Maldives appears to be diminishing, while China’s role in the Maldives has been increasing with the FTA and the Belt and Road Initiative.
    • The FTA is expected to open the Maldives’ tourism sector to Chinese investors and China’s market to Maldivian exports; this would especially benefit Maldivian exporters who no longer enjoy EU tariff reductions.
    • However, the FTA could also increase the Maldives’ debt to China, leaving the country vulnerable to Beijing’s interests. Delhi is also concerned that Beijing’s interests could include establishing a naval presence in the Maldives.
    • To balance China’s increasing influence, the Maldives has reaffirmed its India First policy.



Will US Nuclear Posture Review See a Return to Hegemony? Global Times, by Li Bin, Senior Fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program and the Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“The draft Nuclear Posture Review tries to prove that the US needs a tailored strategy to counter China’s nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities.”

  • Li Bin argues that the Trump administration’s draft ‘Nuclear Posture Review’ shows Washington’s intention to use nuclear weapons as a hegemonic tool, rather than as an option of last resort.
    • The use of nuclear weapons as a hegemonic tool means that the US would measure its global leadership and dominance by its range and number of such weapons.
    • The draft (1) claims that China is likely to use nuclear weapons, and (2) states that the US would respond to nuclear and non-nuclear Chinese aggressions.
    • China could respond by affirming that its nuclear weapons are for deterrence and as an option of last resort, since Beijing is not competing for hegemony and does not intend to use nuclear weapons as a hegemonic tool.

Written by Malinda Meegoda and edited by Anishka De Zylva.

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