Archive for the Toronto June 2010 Category

…China Was the Winner at G20 [IPS – Inter Press Service]

Posted in Canada, China, China-US relations, G20, Hu Jintao, Obama, Toronto June 2010, USA, Yuan appreciation on July 11, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mitch Moxley

BEIJING, Jul 2, 2010 (IPS) – U.S. President Barack Obama may have squeezed in the last word as the G20 summit wrapped up recently in Toronto, but it was China that came away looking like the summit’s winner.

Indeed, the U.S. president kept up the pressure many foreign governments were trying to put on China to help rebalance the world’s economy. He reminded Beijing’s leaders that the U.S. government expects the growing superpower to allow its currency, the yuan, to rise and to reduce the country’s massive trade surplus.

China has long faced criticism from developed countries, particularly the United States, that it keeps its currency artificially low and that this helps fuel its export-driven economy by keeping production costs down…

…But thanks to a recent announcement that its currency will be allowed to rise against the dollar, yuan revaluation remained in large part a sideline issue at the summit.

Indeed, China scored a big victory by having a line removed from the final G20 statement that said it would stop pegging the yuan to the U.S. dollar – a line that many G20 leaders had hoped to keep.

New reports said the line had been included in the statement until just prior to the summit’s final day, but was removed at the request of the Chinese…

…”Leading up to the summit, senior Chinese officials warned that ‘finger-pointing’ would undermine the objectives that world leaders had set out for the meeting,” wrote the ‘Economic Observer’, a weekly newspaper in China, adding that Chinese President Hu Jintao walked away from the meeting “a winner.”

The Chinese officials’ “message seems to have gotten through,” the paper said.

Hu reiterated at the summit that China will not be bullied into relaxing currency controls.

“It is appropriate to address trade frictions appropriately through dialogue and consultation and under the principle of mutual benefit and common development,” Hu said in Toronto.

For China, the biggest obstacle to global economic recovery is Western countries shielding their producers from competition from emerging economies. “We must take concrete actions to reject all forms of protectionism and unequivocally advocate and support free trade [!],” Hu said.

Indeed, reforming the global financial regulatory system was the central focus of conversation at the summit.

China is expected to surpass Japan as the world’s second biggest economy, and it will be transferred International Monetary Fund (IMF) voting shares accordingly.  China believes the current voting structure favours Europe and the United States over rapidly-growing developing nations.

European countries, loath to see their voting share diluted, are putting up stiff resistance to reform.  China currently has the sixth largest voting share at 3.7 percent, compared to the United States’ 17 percent share.

Another big topic of conversation at the summit was the so-called “bank tax.” European leaders – including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron – called for fiscal restraint and for a new levy on bank profits.

Here, China scored another victory by supporting Canada’s counterproposal, which called for enforcing tougher standards on banking capital.  In return, Canada expressed its support for international financial institutions that “better reflect the emerging economies of the world,” and therefore gave a boost to China’s call for international financial institution reform.

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said G20 members still have a long way to go before true reform to the international financial system occurs…

…Zhang Xiaojing, an economics professor and the director of the macroeconomics department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Economics, said China is increasingly accepting the role of leader of developing nations, spearheading calls for change in the global economic order through groups like the G20.

That is a role Zhang expects to become even more prominent in the future.

“The G7 and G8 no longer have an exclusive say over world affairs. China has become a much more powerful player and is beginning to have a strong voice in the international community,” Zhang said. (END)

Full article here

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US arms sales to Taiwan on hold [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, China-US relations, G20, Obama, Taiwan, Toronto June 2010, USA on July 6, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 30, 2010

The US is holding back arms sales to Taiwan due to effective lobbying from the Chinese mainland, sources said.

The latest print edition of US-based Defense News on Monday quoted Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, as saying arms sales are on hold until at least the spring of 2011.

He said Taiwan is still waiting for upgrades to its F-16A/B planes, and its request for 66 F-16C/D fighter aircraft has been on hold since 2006.

According to the reports, a Washington defense analyst said “the Chinese are ramping up the pressure and engaging us in disinformation to complicate our review, particularly in the context of a vulnerable process for arms sales.”

Chinese officials have called the release of new F-16s to Taiwan a “red line,” and yet it is unclear what China would do if the US sent the fighters.  Despite the ambiguity, Washington is taking the threat seriously and arms sales are “frozen” for this year, Hammond-Chambers said.

The report was not approved by official US sources but the Pentagon-backed Defense News has at times released US military decisions in advance.

In recent years, the arms sales have worsened bilateral ties and the majority of Chinese do not believe that US arms sales would come to a immediate stop.

Sun Zhe, a professor with Beijing based Tsinghua University said neither Washington nor Taipei have any intention of giving up arms sales.

He said Hammond-Chambers represents US arms dealers and his words could only be seen as putting pressure on the US government.

“China should have two strings to its bow and we need more effective and strategic countermeasures,” he said.

Li Daguang, a military specialist with the University of National Defense, said the move is at least a sign of goodwill from the US.  With the rise of China’s international position, the United States should be more flexible on issues concerning China’s core interests, Li said.

“It’s the common interests of both Beijing and Washington that forced the latter to make such a decision,” he said, adding that China is of greater strategic importance than the arms sales.

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Blindness to China’s efforts on the Korean Peninsula – response to Obama’s “irresponsible and flippant” criticism [People’s Daily]

Posted in Cheonan sinking, China, DPR Korea, G20, Korean War, Obama, Toronto June 2010, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on July 5, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
 
 
June 29, 2010
 
 
US President Barack Obama groundlessly blamed China for “blindness” to North Korea’s “belligerent behavior” in an alleged attack on the South Korean navel vessel the Cheonan while speaking at the G20 summit Monday.

His words on such an important occasion, based on ignorance of China’s consistent and difficult efforts in pushing for peace on the peninsula, has come as a shock to China and the world at large.

As a close neighbor of North Korea, China and its people have immediate and vital stakes in peace and stability on the peninsula.  China’s worries over the North Korean nuclear issue are by no means less than those of the US.

The US president should have taken these into consideration before making irresponsible and flippant remarks about China’s role in the region.

The facts speak for themselves, and very clearly so:  China has made tremendous efforts in preventing the situation on the Korean Peninsula from getting out of control, including in the aftermath of the Cheonan incident.

Without China’s involvement, there would not have been the Six-Party Talks, and the outbreak of yet another Korean War might well have been a possibility.

It is thus not China that is turning a blind eye to what North Korea has done and has not done.

Instead, it is the leaders of countries such as the US that are turning a blind eye on purpose to China’s efforts.

 

Delay in transfer of wartime command divides S Korea – S Korea regime blatantly lies as US extends military control on Korean peninsula [Xinhua]

Posted in Anti-communism, Cheonan sinking, DPR Korea, G20, Korean War, Media cover-up, Neo-colonialism, south Korea, Toronto June 2010, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on June 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

This is a seriously under-reported political crotch-kick to progressives and supporters of the movement for Korean autonomy world-wide, courtesy of Obama and ultra-conservative President Lee of S. Korea at the Toronto G20.  It must be noted that the stunningly undemocratic abrogation of the agreement to give S. Korea full military authority on its own territory was leaked several days before its revelation in Toronto and at that time was summarily denied by the Lee regime.  From S. Korean gov’t denies reports on delay of wartime command transfer, June 22 2010 (People’s Daily):

The South Korean government denied Thursday local media reports that Seoul and Washington have virtually agreed to delay transferring wartime operational control from the United States back to South Korea, originally scheduled to take place in 2012.

‘Some media reports that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed (delaying) the transfer at the nuclear summit in Washington are not factually accurate.  The two countries never formally discussed the issue,’ the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

Some South Korean media, including a mass circulation daily Dong-A Ilbo, reported a day ago that Lee and Obama agreed at a recent nuclear summit to delay the planned handover, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

The decision, according to Dong-A Ilbo, will be announced after a summit in June on the sidelines of the G20 summit among the world’s major economies.

‘Customarily, we do not confirm details of what the heads of the states discussed.  The reports are also factually wrong,’ the foreign ministry in Seoul said in a statement.

 How utterly duplicitous!  This is the true face of Lee’s ultra-right S. Korean regime, that demands the world to accept its bogus and rushed “investigation” of the sinking of the Cheonan, among its other serial “north wind” (anti-North Korea) fabrications and domestic political repressions. 

The Obama administration is currently conducting an aggressive campaign to consolidate the U.S.’s military bases in the key strategic areas of Northeast Asia with the main thrust being future attacks on China; this years’ crushing of both S. Korean and Japanese native political campaigns to move away from US military occupation or control show the oppressive militaristic and anti-popular underpinnings of US foreign policy. 

It also points to the fact that all US military occupations worldwide will continue indefinitely under some pretext or another, draining domestic resources and spreading universal fear and conflict, unless there is mass resistance. 

The article below appears to give the basic news report but is actually a textbook example of the political backwardness of mainstream S. Korean media and is presented with judicious editing.  Particularly absurd is the premise that this delay is at the request of the S. Korean government; President Lee’s ultra-rightist Grand Nationals in S. Korea dance to the US’s tune and not vice versa.  – 左手

June 28, 2010

by Kim Junghyun

SEOUL, June 28 (Xinhua) — A surprising announcement from Canada over the weekend that Seoul’s planned takeover of wartime operational command of its troops has been pushed back by three years and seven months to Dec. 1, 2015…

DELAY OF TRANSFER

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his U.S. counterpart Barak Obama dropped the bomb Saturday and announced a three-year delay of the wartime control at a bilateral summit in Toronto, Canada on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.  The decision was made at the request of the South Korean government [!]…

Seoul’s wartime operational control was given to the U.S.-led United Nations Command at the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, which was later transferred to the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC).  Some 28,500 U.S. troops have been stationed here following the deadly civil war…

South Korea regained peacetime control in 1994, and late former President Roh Moo-hyun stuck a contentious deal with Washington in 2007 to take over the wartime command, a move that angered conservatives…

Last week’s news was all the more startling to many, as speculation alleging possible renegotiation of the plan has been repeatedly dismissed by tight-lipped South Korean and U.S. officials, who never gave anything much more than their official stance that the transfer will be carried out as scheduled.  [The writer is dancing around the stark fact that they lied.  –  左手]

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, among others, once publicly acknowledged that the original plan would create “the worst situation” for South Korean military but still stood by what he called a “political promise” between Seoul and Washington.  Gen. Warter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, also reiterated many times that the transition is on the way…

PARTISAN DIVIDE

…[T]he issue of retaking wartime command has been one of the biggest wedge issues in highly divisive South Korean politics.  The Roh Moo-hyun administration requested the transfer under the name of sovereignty and autonomy, which coincided with Pentagon’s interests of realigning its overseas troops under its new military strategy.

Liberals voiced strong doubts.  “There are many unanswered questions as to whether there was some kind of a back-room deal,” Chung Se-kyun, chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party, said Monday during a meeting with senior party officials, referring to suspicions that the delay came at Seoul’s cost of making concessions on the two-way free trade deal with Washington.

The negotiation process was also flawed, Chung said. “It is inappropriate that the government had kept the deal in secret without assessing public opinion and unveiled it all of a sudden.” 

What is not dared to be openly stated by the compromised S. Korean media and politicians is that this wartime command delay was an absolutely undemocratic, dictatorial policy move on the part of the Obama – Lee alliance.  – 左手

May Toronto’s G20 be the last – “Now is the time to end the charade of these summits once and for all” [Guardian.co.uk]

Posted in G20, Police, Police brutality, Toronto June 2010 on June 29, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The G20 summit in Toronto was a social disaster within a global catastrophe, I’m still sifting through the aftermath.  $1+ billion for security, the most money spent for such a confab ever; yet if you were a peaceful protester or even a journalist, then you were most decidedly insecure and at the mercy of intimidating baton-swinging police.  Super-pricey “security” also means obvious police provocations (see below) and police-state stripping of rights…yet I get the feeling only political junk came out of it.  G7, G8, G20:  G-sus Christ,  G-nuff already. – 左手   

It’s not just the $1bn policing; the failure to tackle the financial crisis…exposes a forum without credibility   

by John Hilary   

June 27, 2010   

To a foreigner, the Canadian police are a confusing bunch.  With Toronto locked down for the G20 summit, several of them have been cycling around the deserted streets on mountain bikes presenting what we would see as the very picture of community policing. Yet side by side with this benign image is an intimidating, militarised presence that many Canadians feel has been deliberately cultivated in order to undermine their right to protest against the G20 and its damaging impacts…   

…Many Canadians have become suspicious of police tactics since the Quebec police force admitted that it had disguised three of its own officers as rock-wielding anarchists in an attempt to provoke violence at a peaceful protest in the town of Montebello two years ago.  Somewhat farcically, the three were exposed as agents provocateurs when they were found to be wearing official issue police boots identical to those of the uniformed officers “arresting” them.   

Provocateurs in Montebello wear the same shoes as the Quebec policemen who arrest them! (aka: cops are dressed as demonstrators and try to start up violence in Montebello, Qc 2007-08-20)

 

There are concerns that similar skulduggery may have played a part in Toronto this weekend, where the burning of three police cars quickly became the defining image of Saturday’s otherwise peaceful demonstration.  Questions are being asked as to why the police chose to drive the vehicles into the middle of a group of protesters and then abandon them, and why there was no attempt to put out the flames until the nation’s media had been given time to record the scenes for broadcast around the world.   

The fact that so much attention has been directed towards the policing is largely due to the lack of anything newsworthy coming out of the summit itself.  Even David Cameron, attending for the first time as British prime minister, published his own desperate plea in the Canadian press this week for summits to be turned into something more than the hot air and photo opportunities they have been in the past…   

As an invitation-only club whose membership was literally drawn up on the back of an envelope, the G20 never laid any claim to legitimacy.  Now it is also in danger of losing any credibility as a forum for global economic governance.  Its failure to address any of the structural problems that caused the financial and economic crises of the past three years has certainly not gone unnoticed in Toronto…   

…Unbelievably, the G20 is scheduled to hold its next summit in just a few months [in South Korea…].  If the Canadian experience has taught us anything, it is that such meetings are simply not worth the candle.  There are more than enough forums already available for national leaders to discuss the key issues of our time, and almost every one of them has a greater claim to openness and inclusivity than the G20.  Now is the time to end the charade of these summits once and for all.   

Full article here

China not keen on yuan talks at G20 [People’s Daily]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-US relations, Economy, G20, Toronto June 2010, Yuan appreciation on June 29, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
 
June 25, 2010
 
 
Regarding Washington’s intention of pushing China over the yuan issue during the G20 summit in Toronto, Beijing said Thursday that such a move would not produce any positive results.

We believe the appreciation of the yuan cannot bring balanced trade and cannot help the US solve its problems of unemployment, over-consumption and low savings,” said Qin Gang, spokesman of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We hope the US can reflect on the problems of its own economic structure instead of playing blame games and imposing pressure on others.”

Qin was responding to questions concerning recent remarks by US Secretary of Commerce Gary Faye Locke, who said that US President Barack Obama would raise the yuan issue with Chinese officials at the G20 summit.

“We hope the US can work with us … to promote our economic relations in a balanced way,” he said. “Monotonously pressuring China or resorting to trade protectionism would be unreasonable and bring benefit to no one.”

Locke’s words came after US lawmakers pushed legislation Wednesday that they said would treat currency manipulation as an illegal subsidy and enable US authorities to impose tariffs on Chinese goods.

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“Global Bonapartism” – the Toronto G20 and China [counterpunch]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-US relations, Economy, G20, Hu Jintao, Labor, Obama, Red Scare, Toronto June 2010, USA, Yuan appreciation on June 26, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 21, 2010

by Vijay Prahaad

A superb short history of the G7/G8/G20 as the Toronto confab looms in all its lavishly-funded police-state questionability.  The diktat expected to be hammered home (by the EU bloc leaders at least) is “AUSTERITY”.  This article has been excerpted to highlight the parts about China at the G20. – 左手

“…Obama is to blame China. That is now an established art in Washington…”

When the Finance Ministers of the Advanced States set up the G7 in 1974-75, their tongues quivered with the taste of centuries of power…The Third World had threatened the established order with its demand for a New International Economic Order (1973), but that would quickly be dispatched through financial trickery, one that led directly to the massive debt crisis of the 1980s and the inflation of the power of Wall Street, the City of London and the Frankfurt Finanzplatz.  No rivals stood in the way of the G7.  The European and Japanese Ministers happily bound their economies into dollar seigniorage, with the euro and the yen now secondary currencies in the world of international settlements.  The United States was the leading edge.  Its wingmen stood around:  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.  Everyone beamed.  The future was theirs.

Like Achilles, the G7 not only killed its Hector, the hopes of the rest of the planet, but it now tied the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America behind its chariot and dragged it across the battlefield.  Structural adjustment conditionalities, aerial bombardment:  this was the loot and pillage of the era that opened up in 1975.

In late June, the G7 (with Russia, the G8) will meet in Toronto, Canada.  This is its 33rd official gathering; it might be its final one.  Alongside the G8, Canada will also host the G20. The G20 was formed in 1999 at the initiative of the “locomotives of the South,” the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), South Africa (who joins them in another iteration, the IBSA — India, Brazil and South Africa) and Mexico.  A smart fellow at Goldman Sachs coined the acronym BRIC, but it has stuck, and it means more than that quaint sounding term from the 1990s, “emerging economies.”  The G20 began as a “mechanism for informal dialogue.”  Circumstances favored a greater role:  the global financial crisis from 2008 onward opened the door.  The “advanced” economies turned for consideration to their creditors among the BRIC states.  This moment of crisis pushed the G20 to ask for more than an informal status.  At the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburg, the eminences pledged, “Today, we designated the G20 as the premier forum for our international economic cooperation.”

Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom are the least pleased with the demise of the G8, since this has been their major platform to assert their otherwise declined global presence (this applies in particular to Japan, which has seen its influence decline relative to the rise of China’s authority).  Because of these powers, the G8 might continue to meet, but it will not be able to act as the executive committee of the G20.  The others might not allow that.  They can see the benefit of having China in the room, and India and Brazil.  Keep your friends close, is the theory, but your enemies closer.  [That works both ways, doesn’t it…  – 左手]

The Road to the High Table

Since the 1950s, it has been the effort of the Atlantic states to squash the march of political progress in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Independent political action was frowned upon.  The Dulles brothers felt that all this talk of “non-alignment” was simply a Trojan Horse for Bolshevism.  John Foster Dulles shared bugbears with Winston Churchill. Both were obsessed with Communism, what Dulles called “godless terrorism.”  One can imagine John Foster chuckling as Churchill says, “The failure to strangle Bolshevism at its birth and to bring Russia, then prostrate, by one means or another, into the general democratic system, lies heavy upon us today” (1949).  If Russia finally entered the G7, and, despite its occasional bouts of independent thinking, went along with the Atlantic powers, the countries of the Third World project were less pliable.  Even when they give themselves over to the broad outlines of the Atlantic project, they still do things that are unacceptable:  as when Turkey and Brazil cut the deal with Iran on nuclear fuel…

…[An] important demand has been for democracy in the IMF and the World Bank, two institutions that are dominated by the Europeans and the United States.  As the country with vast surpluses, China has made the loudest noises, in the most genial way, for greater voting power in the IMF.  At the Pittsburg meeting of the G20 in 2009, the powers gave the nod to open up the vote share in the IMF (the United States has the largest block of votes, 17 per cent, while China now has the sixth largest, with 3.7 per cent)…

Capitalist Revisionism

…The G20 met in Pittsburg when it appeared possible that global capitalism might implode.  Talk of global Keynesianism was in the air, and it looked like neo-liberalism was on its knees.  The final communiqué from Pittsburg did not disguise its true intentions, which was to use the stimulus to get over the slump and then return to business as usual.  “We will avoid any premature withdrawal of surplus,” the eminences wrote, “at the same time, we will prepare our exit strategies and, when the time is right, withdraw our extraordinary policy support in a cooperative and coordinated way, maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility.”  There is nothing here to indicate a fundamental course correction…

The finance ministers of the G20, called the sherpas, met in Busan, South Korea earlier this month to create the agenda and draft documents for the G20 summit…They told the press that it was time for austerity.

The Greek financial meltdown provided the lesson.  That Goldman Sachs had colluded with the Greek ruling elite to enable and mask its debt was not the issue.  The lesson from the Greek debacle was that European countries had to hastily bring down their deficits.  These deficits had to now be paid for not by higher taxes on the rich (or even more effective tax collection on extant rates), but by cuts in government social spending and on effective taxations of all kinds on the working-class.  The consumption of the elite could not be touched, but the consumption of the poor, low as it is, is going to be curtailed.  The newly elected Conservatives in the UK hastened to slash government spending, with the Conservative leader, David Cameron, telling his fellows to change their “whole way of life…”

…[As for the US,] Obama is to blame China.  That is now an established art in Washington.  The current theme is to demand that China devalue its currency, and thereby administer a reduction of its surplus dollars.  There is a demand that the Chinese government needs to push polices that increase domestic consumption and reduce its domestic saving rate.  The Chinese need to be made into consumers.  They are too thrifty.  Currently the personal consumption of the vast Chinese population is only 16 per cent of that of the U. S. population.  If the Chinese were to become America, imagine the ecological stress.  The champion of “green capitalism” has not thought that through.

To forestall U. S. criticism, the Chinese have loosed the yuan’s peg to the dollar.  It will not do what Washington wants, but it will allow Hu [Jintao] to claim he has done what he can and yet do little.  Beijing promised as much in April, before Hu’s visit to Washington.  Little came of it.  The Chinese are equally unprepared to slow down on the stimulus – at $585 billion, it allowed the Chinese economy to grow by 8.7 per cent last year…the leadership has looked the other way during strike action against some of the export-processing firms.  Hu has his own problems.  He won’t be Obama’s sherpa.

At Toronto, the main card will be Obama v. [Germany’s] Merkel…

[emphases mine]

Full article here