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One of the best explanations about the difference between Western democracies and China’s strategic play, is in the recent book, Trump vs China, by former speaker of the US congress and former professor of history and geography, Newt Gingrich. In an entire chapter on the subject, Gingrich explains the difference through the prism of the Chinese board game, wei qi, also known as go, and the West’s popular board game, chess.


While chess confines itself to checkmating key pieces, wei qi is more strategic with a focus on the long game and permanently controlling and owning the entire board. An imaginary aerial view of China’s Belt and Road initiative combined with its trade deals with countries like Australia and the US, the leasing of strategic infrastructure such as Darwin port and others in the region and their debt trap diplomacy with places like Sri Lanca, Africa and South America and other struggling, mendicant states in the south west Pacific are further examples of China’s long game.