Archive for the Protectionist Trade War with China Category

The Double Standard of the U.S. on Internet Uses – and “Free Trade”, Human Rights, Social Unrest, etc… [The 4th Media / Wenweipo]

Posted in CIA, Currency wars, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Protectionist Trade War with China, Torture, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions, Wikileaks on March 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xu Hu

March 7, 2011

The United States is a country of contradictions and double standards that have no dignity. When it meets the interests of America’s corporations, the United States hails to freedom, free trade and investment freedom.  When America encounters trade deficits, the country immediately gives up on free trade and investment freedom.  Instead, it pushes protectionism, levies high, punishing taxes on Chinese imports and forbids Chinese corporations from purchasing American companies — the case in which the U.S. government blocked Huawei’s proposed investment is a good example.

America keeps talking about human rights.  However, the U.S. military has not only invaded Iraq, but it has also carried out massacres of Iraqi citizens and has tortured prisoners in camps. The United States is against the manipulation of currency, and yet it prints out trillions of U.S. bills each year to devalue the U.S. dollar in order to lower its debt — it bilks and brings losses to its creditors.

When riots broke out in the Middle East, the United States showed two different sets of attitudes toward the countries involved — it was mild and patient toward its allies, but for countries that were unfriendly toward the United States, such as Iran and Libya, the U.S. had a totally opposite attitude and called on the people to gather in the streets and overturn the government.  The United States stands for using the Internet to interfere with other countries’ policies.  In her public speech, Hillary Clinton commented that she supported the use of the Internet for free expression in order to overturn the government, because protecting human rights is equivalent to protecting the freedom of expression on the Internet, and the U.S. stands firm from this point of view.

As Clinton was talking about the "benefits" of the uses of the Internet in Washington, a few miles away in Virginia a federal court was debating whether to grant the government access to Twitter’s information database and permission to investigate users who are related to the WikiLeaks case.  The CIA stands for expanding rights to monitor online communication tools such as social websites and Skype.

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China faces extremely complex situation for development in 2011: report [Xinhua]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Economy, Premier Wen Jiabao, Protectionist Trade War with China, USA on March 10, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) — China faces an "extremely complex situation for development" this year, according to a government work report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday.

Some long-term and short-term problems in the country’s economic activities are intertwined, and institutional incongruities and structural problems are stacked up together, making macro-control more difficult, reads the report.

"We need to correctly judge the situation, keep our heads clear, be more mindful of potential dangers, and be prepared to respond to risks," according to the report to be delivered at the opening of the fourth session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.

The world economy will continue to recover slowly, but the foundation for recovery is not solid.  Economic growth in developed economies is weak, their unemployment rates are and will remain high, and some countries are still under the threat of their sovereign debt crises, the report says.

Major developed economies have further eased monetary policies, global liquidity has increased greatly, the prices of major commodities and the exchange rates of major currencies have become more volatile in the international market, asset bubbles and inflationary pressure have grown in emerging markets, protectionism continues to heat up, competition in the international market is becoming more intense, and there are still many unstable and uncertain factors, says the report.

Article link here

Australian union leader stokes anti-Chinese chauvinism as he launches protectionist campaign [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-Islam hysteria, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-bashing, Encirclement of China, Islamophobia, Japan, Protectionist Trade War with China, Rudd-Gillard coup, Sinophobia, Taiwan, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on February 26, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Terry Cook
25 February 2011

The 125th anniversary national conference of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), held last week on the Queensland Gold Coast, was a forum for unabashed anti-Chinese chauvinism, as the union launched its “Don’t Dump on Australia” protectionist campaign.

Addressing the 500-strong conference, which included well-heeled union bureaucrats, federal, state and local politicians, along with big business representatives, AWU national secretary Paul Howes set the tone, declaring:  “Australian jobs, Australian companies are going under because Chinese companies are not playing by the rules in the global free trade game.”

“AWU workers,” Howes alleged “continually take the brunt of deliberate Chinese government policies that are not based on market principles; not based on WTO rules, but rather on a model of state capitalism [sic] grounded in strategic goals to win dominant market share, at the expense of international competitors”.

Praising the United States and Canada for their moves to “act against dumped products” Howes continued:  “Australia should follow that lead – and not worry about claims that this is a new form of protectionism.”  Appealing directly to the Gillard federal Labor government, he declared:  “The fate of AWU members rests with the creation and enforcement in Australia of a strong anti-dumping regime.”

The AWU campaign has nothing to do with defending jobs or the rights of AWU workers, or any other section workers, but serves a diametrically opposed end.  Like all union moves to protectionism, the AWU’s anti-dumping campaign is aimed at harnessing Australian workers behind Australian-based employers who, no less than their Chinese counterparts, are fighting to grab a “dominant market share”.

Over the past 15 years, the AWU—along with every other union—has worked in lockstep with big business to abolish protective work practices, lower wages and slash working conditions, claiming these measures would make Australian employers “internationally competitive” and preserve jobs into the future.

This claim has always been a fraud.  In the past two years alone, in the wake of the eruption of the global financial crisis in 2008, thousands of jobs have been destroyed in the manufacturing sector, as companies have moved to fundamentally restructure their operations.  According to one estimate, some 40,000 industrial jobs have been destroyed since the 2008 crash, just in the state of Victoria.

At the same time, the AWU’s protectionist agenda, and its stoking of anti-Chinese chauvinism, acts to divide Australian workers from their class brothers and sisters in China, and to divert them from the real cause of the destruction of jobs and working conditions—the operations of the profit system.  It is precisely these operations that are defended and implemented through the pro-market policies of the Gillard Labor government and buttressed by the unions, which act as the industrial policemen for the corporate elite.

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US adopts bellicose posture in advance of state visit by Chinese president [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Afghanistan, Beijing, Brazil, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, China-US relations, Diaoyu Islands, DPR Korea, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, Germany, Hu Jintao, India, Japan, NATO, NATO invasion, Philippines, Protectionist Trade War with China, Russia, South China Sea, south Korea, Taiwan, Tokyo, US imperialism, USA, Yellow Sea, Yuan appreciation on January 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Barry Grey
15 January 2011

In the run-up to next week’s state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Obama administration has escalated its diplomatic, economic and military campaign to contain Chinese influence and assert US interests in Asia.

In a speech delivered Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner broadened the parameters of the ongoing US economic offensive against Beijing, adding to the demand that China more rapidly revalue its currency injunctions to reduce state control over its economy, fully open its markets to US capital, end preferences to Chinese firms, and more forcefully uphold intellectual property rights.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking Friday in Tokyo after a two-day visit to China, called for Japan to expand its military and collaborate more intensively with US forces operating in the region.

Speaking at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, Geithner placed the blame for global economic imbalances in general, and rising currency exchange rates and inflation in emerging economies in particular, squarely on China. He simply ignored the central role played by the United States, which is pursuing a cheap dollar policy to obtain an advantage for US exports to the detriment not only of China, but also other exporting nations such as Japan, Germany, Brazil and South Korea.

By debasing the dollar, the leading world trade and reserve currency, the US is flooding global markets with cheap credit, which is wreaking havoc on emerging economies in Asia and Latin America, forcing up the value of their currencies, curtailing their exports and fueling inflation and asset bubbles. The cheap dollar is also driving a surge in food and commodity prices, raising the prospect of another global food crisis.

China has been forced in recent weeks to raise its interest rates twice in an attempt to stem inflation, and South Korea on Friday lifted its interest rates and imposed new controls on capital inflows. Over the past two years, the Brazilian real has risen 39 percent against the dollar, the Chilean peso has soared 25.7 percent, the Columbian peso has surged 19.1 percent, the South African rand has risen 47.6 percent, the Thai baht has gone up 14.8 percent, the South Korean won has increased 22.2 percent, and the Indonesian rupiah has jumped 22.3 percent.

While hailing China’s rapid economic development as presenting “enormous opportunities for the United States and for the world,” Geithner declared that “its size, the speed of its ascent, and its policies are a growing source of concern in the United States and in many other countries.”

In an implied threat to curtail China’s access to US markets, Geithner said, “But China’s growth was also made possible by the access China enjoyed to the markets, the investments, and the technology of the United States and the other major economies.”

Geithner baldly asserted that the Chinese renminbi (or yuan) is “substantially undervalued.” Again employing thinly veiled economic blackmail, he added, “We believe it is in China’s interest to allow the currency to appreciate more rapidly in response to market forces. And we believe China will do so because the alternative would be too costly—for China and for China’s relations with the rest of the world.”

He then listed what it would take for China to obtain its objectives, including greater access to high technology products and investment opportunities in the US. “As China reduces the role of the state in the economy,” he declared, “reforms policies that discriminate against US companies, removes subsidies and preferences for domestic firms and technology, and allows its exchange rate to reflect market forces, then we will be able to make more progress on China’s objectives.” This is essentially a prescription for China’s transformation into an economic colony of the United States.

Speaking Friday at Keio University in Tokyo during the second stop in his three-country tour of East Asia, Defense Secretary Gates said, “I disagree with those who portray China as an inevitable strategic adversary of the United States. We welcome a China that plays a constructive role on the world scene.”

However, to insure that China plays a “constructive” role, Gates outlined a strategy for its military encirclement and implied that the US would intervene on Japan’s side in any armed conflict with Beijing.

Gates claimed that “questions about [China’s] intentions and opaque military modernization program have been a source of concern to its neighbors.” He raised the issue of “territorial disputes” and cited the confrontation between Japan and China that erupted last September when Japanese coast guard vessels arrested the captain of a Chinese fishing boat near the disputed Senkaku islands (known as Diaoyu in China).

He said the incident “served as a reminder of the importance of America’s and Japan’s treaty obligations to one another.” This was a reference to the 1960 US-Japan security treaty, cited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the time, which includes a provision obliging the US to support Japan militarily in the event of a conflict over the islands.

The US staged provocative joint naval maneuvers with Japan following this episode in the East China Sea. Two months later, the US supported South Korea when its military maneuvers in disputed waters with North Korea prompted the latter to fire on an island occupied by South Korea, killing two South Korean civilians and two marines.

The US encouraged South Korea to reject attempts at mediation by China and Russia. Washington used the crisis to accuse China of not doing enough to restrain its North Korean ally and staged a series of naval exercises with South Korea in waters off China, defying Beijing’s protests.

In his Tokyo speech, Gates cited “advances by the Chinese military in cyber and anti-satellite warfare” as a “potential challenge to the ability of our forces to operate and communicate in this part of the Pacific.” He went on to praise Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines, released last month, for envisioning “a more mobile and deployable force structure; enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities; and a shift in focus to Japan’s southwest islands.”

The last point signifies a shift to regions facing onto China. Gates underlined the significance of this proposal, saying the new guidelines “provide an opportunity for even deeper cooperation between our two countries—and the emphasis on your southwestern islands underscores the important of our alliance’s force posture.”

Gates went on to say that a critical component of the enhanced US-Japanese military alliance was “the forward presence of US military forces in Japan.” Without US troops on the ground in Japan, he warned, “North Korea’s military provocations could be even more outrageous—or worse” and “China might behave more assertively towards its neighbors.”

Gates’ speech came just four days after the Japanese and South Korean defense ministers, at the urging of Washington, held talks in Seoul over the first-ever military agreements between the two countries. The US is pushing for a trilateral military alliance with Japan and South Korea, which would be directed first and foremost against China.

The US has formal military alliances with the Philippines, Japan and South Korea, which, together with Taiwan, constitute an encirclement of the Chinese mainland, from the Yellow Sea to the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The US and NATO also occupy Afghanistan to China’s west, and Washington has established closed ties with India, including nuclear technology exchanges.

In Gates’ talks in Beijing, the Chinese defense minister rejected his call for “in-depth strategic dialogue” on nuclear missile defense, space and cyber warfare. The Chinese conducted a successful test of their J-20 stealth fighter jet, an act widely interpreted as a signal of the Chinese military’s anger over US provocations, including Washington’s agreement last January to supply Taiwan with over $6 billion in military hardware.

For its part, the US is deploying the USS nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its battle group in joint exercises with the South Korean Navy to coincide with Gates’ arrival in Seoul. The war games are being held in the Yellow Sea in defiance of warnings by Beijing against any deployment of US carriers in those waters.

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Looking at China’s foreign trade record reasonably [People’s Daily]

Posted in Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Economy, EU, Hong Kong, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Japan, Protectionist Trade War with China, south Korea, USA, WTO on January 6, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 27, 2010

China’s total foreign trade volume is expected to exceed 2.9 trillion US dollars this year, a historic high, yet the nation’s exports are likely to come up against more trade barriers as the world economic struggles to stage a bullish recovery, according to Ministry of Commerce sources. Compared with 2009, the nation’s foreign trade growth in 2010 will reach a rise of 31.5 percent, well above the global average level of 11.4 percentage points.

Earlier, the new “Global Economic Prospects” update notes that global economic is 4.8 percentage points in 2010, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October said the developed countries’ economy will grow by 2.7 percent while that for developed countries will be 7.1 percent this year. A powerful engine of global economic growth drives up the rapid growth of China’s export recovery.

At the same time, China’s domestic economic growth and domestic demand expansion led to a growing demand for imports, while a rapid increase in international commodity prices is a good spur for a further expansion of China’s imports volume.

Meanwhile, in the wake of rapid growth in foreign trade, China’s trade surplus continues its decline. According to customs statistics, China’s foreign trade surplus amounted to 170.412 billion dollars from January to November, a drop of 4.2 percent as compared with the same period in 2009, and a decrease of 33.4 percent from the same 2008 period. A declining surplus is attributed mainly to a significant rise in the rate of import growth over the export growth. China’s exports grew 33 percent to 1.42 trillion dollars from January to November, with imports up 40.3 percent to 1.253 trillion dollars.

In its major trading partners, in addition to the European Union (EU), the nation’s import growth rate from the United States, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN are significantly higher than China’s export growth rate to these countries and regions. This shows that China has taken pragmatic, substantial moves to promote the balanced growth of global trade. China’s marked import growth has become a vital, important force to drive the world economy out of an impasse. In a third trade policy review of China in May, the World Trade Organization (WTO) highly appreciated its adherence to import expansion.

As a matter of cause, China’s higher trade surplus “was mainly driven by a rapid import growth”. In a foreseeable future, however, it is increasingly difficult to offset the processing trade surplus with the expansion of trade deficit in general. And so a large surplus or imbalance is an excuse for trade frictions against China.

Nevertheless, the distribution of China’s export destination countries has not changed much. The EU remains China’s largest export market from January to November 2010, and the country’s exports to the three major economies, namely, the U.S., Europe and Japan markets, accounted for 45.5 percent of China’s total exports. If China’s export flow through Hong Kong is included, then the developed countries are still China’s major export markets.

This also indicates from a side aspect the need to accelerate the pace of change in China’s foreign trade development model and, only in this way, can China boost the further implementation of exports market diversification strategy in an effort to disperse or diffuse its export risks.

What especially needs alert is that a rapid recovery of foreign trade situation and export situation in particular is possibly to slow down the pace of foreign trade shift and restructuring. So, China should capitalizes [sic] on the in-depth readjustment of global economy and the new round of technological innovation and substantially press ahead changes in the foreign trade development strategy and strategic transfer of the entire economy.

By People’s Daily Online and contributed by Long Chung Yang, Ph.D assistant researcher of Foreign Economic Research Institute under China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)

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“As China Rises, So Does Vietnam”- New York Times article cheats, foists Vietnam’s rise over China – UPDATED [Sweet & Sour Socialism Special Report]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Beijing, Capitalist media double standard, China, Corporate Media Critique, Economy, Protectionist Trade War with China, Sweet & Sour Socialism Special Report, USA, Vietnam on January 5, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 23, 2011  –  UPDATED AND EDITED with additional statistics – Zuo Shou 左手

~ This Special Report is a critique of “As China Rises, So Does Vietnam” [New York Times] by Wayne Arnold, 2010 December 21. NYT article link here ~

by Zuo Shou 左手

January 5, 2011

I don’t dispute the article’s title and initial premise, that China and Vietnam are developing in an economically similar manner.

However, the title proves to be something of a bait and switch as the article eventually transforms into a topic which the title does not portend, of Vietnam gaining at China’s expense — a hypothesis which is over-hyped and at times fundamentally deceptive in its presentation.  Not that there isn’t competition or dynamic changes in flows of capital relative to the two countries, or that the article doesn’t encompass some other ambiguous dynamics of two nations’ inter-related economies. However, in this particular context there are some glaring omissions and mistakes (if not lies) that should be pointed out.

Once it sketches out the relatively recent parallel “socialist market reform” which happened first in China and then in Vietnam, the article moves into a slippier, more propagandistic realm.

The writer expostulates that there is a major shift in industry and investment away from China and towards Vietnam, and a pretext is given that it’s either because “China stumbled” i.e. it’s China’s fault, and Vietnam exploited that based on some inherent advantage; or it’s implied that any changes in the two countries’ relative economic fortunes are simply the working out of impersonal domestic and global market forces.

One support given for the “it’s China’s own fault” rationale is Chinese “nationalist demonstrations”, which are alleged to have spooked Japanese factory-owners in China.  This is interesting in that peaceful demonstrators numbering in the dozens which took place just in September of this year are partially blamed for a factually-unsupported, immediate exodus of Japanese enterprise from China in the following 3-month period. If this author has data to back this up, he should share it… It’s also interesting because critics of China’s government bash it for allegedly suppressing freedom of assembly; yet when Chinese citizens do demonstrate – peacefully — it’s not praised, but branded “nationalist” and marked down as an indication of an unstable investment environment.

The major flaw in this claim’s narrative, intriguing in that it’s originating in the US “newspaper of record”, is the total omission of the ongoing US protectionist policy towards China, in particular in the furniture industry, an industry which the article itself poses as analysing.   It’s telling, or ironic, that this article was published 10 days before the US government renewed bipartisan-supported “anti-dumping” tariffs on Chinese wood furniture for another 5 years, which have been in place since at least 2004. [1][2] It’s also odd because the article recognizes the US tariffs (or lack thereof) on certain Vietnamese textiles.

Furthermore, the article fails to reveal that Vietnam is a direct beneficiary of the very China-curbing US policy it obscures.   Here’s the real story: “…The rapid rise in [Vietnam’s] furniture exports was also helped along by the anti-dumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from China imposed by the US Department of Commerce in 2002.  Added to this was the US-Bilateral Agreement which reduces the tariff on Vietnam’s furniture exports to the United States from 35% to 3%.  Both developments opened up the US market for Vietnamese furniture leading to its rapid growth….” [3]  This directly repudiates the writers’ claim that if China loses trade to Vietnam, it’s because “China stumbled” and Vietnam was “[w]aiting with its own well-educated, disciplined but much cheaper work force…”

This skewed view of the Chinese-Vietnam furniture export relationship is capped and summarized with a single unbelievable quote: “The whole industry just gradually moved to Vietnam”.   The facts: despite US protectionist policies, China’s global furniture exports in 2009 were over ten times those of Vietnam, $38.9 billion vs. $3.3 billion. And in a further irony, despite the US diverting wooden furniture trade to Vietnam away from China, in 2009 Chinese furniture exports to the US were still 10 times those from Vietnam, paralleling the global trend. [3][4]

The article’s dubious hypothesis of Vietnam outflanking China is further pushed with an anecdote about Intel replacing facilities in some countries like China and moving to Vietnam:

“…This year, Intel opened a new, $1 billion semiconductor factory near Ho Chi Minh City to replace facilities in Malaysia, the Philippines and China…” [emphasis mine]

This too proves to be extremely misleading, and presents an entirely false impression of Intel in Asia, particularly China.  It was reported in 2008 that Intel was developing a major chip-producing facility with $2.5 billion in investment in the northeast Chinese city of Dalian, to be the largest IC-processing base in Asia and Intel’s single largest investment outside of the US. [5]  With the plant fully operational in 2010 and Phase I completed, the total investment is being reported as $6 billion, more than doubling earlier reports.  Further adding to Intel’s total investment in China, the company still has a chip-production plant in Chengdu. [6]  In any case, in terms of real investment this new China plant in Dalian alone obviously surpasses the scale of Intel’s new Vietnam facility and this fact destroys the “Intel helps Vietnam surge past China” point the NYT writer was trying to make.

The article does make the concessional point that lower labor costs in Vietnam aren’t everything, that it is lagging behind China in infrastructure and other developmental indices.

The article concludes with one last major distortion regarding the NYT reporter’s favored theme:

“…Vietnam seems to have won favor as an alternative to China for foreign investors.  Foreign direct investment into Vietnam rose almost fourfold between 2005 and 2008, according to the World Bank, to $9.58 billion, and slipped 20 percent during the crisis in 2009 to $7.6 billion.  In China it almost halved.”

Sounds somewhat convincing, but if read closely, a distorted gauge of comparison should be evident.  Research data reveals the writer is indeed pushing  —  again  —  a demonstrably false claim, that “Vietnam seems to have won favor as an alternative to China for foreign investment”:

from “Top 25 Countries for Overseas Investment” – Business Week


Rank: 1 (Change from 2007: Unchanged)…

2008 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Inflows: $108.3 billion…


Rank: 12 (Change from 2007: Unchanged)…

2008 FDI Inflows: $8.1 billion…

So the report by consultancy A.T. Kearney and published March 2010 in BusinessWeek shows that whatever the drops that occurred during the financial crisis, China remains the number 1 destination for foreign investment, and what’s more there was no change in the relative rankings of China and Vietnam from 2007 to 2010 as “Top 25 Destinations for Foreign Investment.  So once again the hypothesis of Vietnam “gaining” on China is trashed.

Was this article simply slipshod New York Times hackery, a deliberately distorted propaganda piece, or something in between?  What is clear is an emerging trend of US ruling class strategy is to play Vietnam off against China, a strategic alliance most difficult to swallow, considering the recent genocidal history of the US War on Vietnam; the US elbowing into the South China Sea territorial dispute on the side of Vietnam against China shows this will have both foreign AND trade policy implications.  That there will be deceptive “free trade” propaganda via US government corporate mouthpieces such as the NYT is not so new; what is perhaps new is its hybridization with China-bashing of varying subtlety and the spectacle of a virulently anti-socialist media stalwart promoting a bias of one socialist nation over another, in an attempt to diminish the image of the rising national rival that is China in the eyes of its readership.


1 “ITC explains why it let furniture anti-dumping duties stand” Heath E. Combs, Furniture Today, 2010 December 28

2 “US to slap tariffs on Chinese furniture” (Agencies) ChinaDaily, 2004 June 20

3 “Vietnam’s furniture exports continue to grow in 2009” Benjamin Chiu, Philexport Cebu, 2010 September 12

4 “US-China Trade Statistics and China’s World Trade Statistics” The US-China Business Council (USCBC) Reports, Analysis, and Statistics

5 “Intel’s CEO should receive a medal as big as a frying pan”, Neill Newton,, 2008 December 8

6 “Intel Dalian Plant to start production in October” CNET News China, 2010 August 16

How should China handle America’s “return to Asia?” [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, China-US relations, Diaoyu Islands, Diplomat, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Encirclement of China, George W. Bush, George Washington aircraft carrier, Hillary Clinton, India, Obama, Protectionist Trade War with China, Sinophobia, South China Sea, US imperialism, USA, World War II, Yellow Peril myth, Yuan appreciation on December 12, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 5, 2010

The U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises were held in the Yellow Sea region on Nov. 28. The United States sent the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, a 9,600-ton cruiser, and a 9,750-ton destroyer to participate in the military exercises.

The United States has appeared on the Asian stage once again. Its “return to Asia” strategy has become increasingly clear, and China-U.S. relations have also attracted much attention worldwide since Obama took control of the White House.

People’s Daily reporters interviewed Huang Ping, president of the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, regarding China-U.S. relations.

~ US China policy changes from warm to cold ~

The U.S. policy on China has changed from warm to cold during the two years of the Obama administration. Obama immediately paid a visit to China when he first took control of the White House and showed more passion than former president George W. Bush.

However, the current changes are obvious, and the United States has begun to implement various sanctions, restrictions and inhibitions on China. In regard to the RMB exchange rate, although the United States has not labeled China as a “currency manipulator,” it has shown an increasingly intense and loud voice regarding this issue in general.

The United States also directly or indirectly involved itself in China’s relations with neighboring countries. It took a public stance or indirectly exerted influence regarding issues such as the Diaoyu Islands event and the conflicts in the South China Sea, Huang said.

Huang analyzed the reasons for the changes in the Obama administration’s China policy, and said that the U.S. presidents have always adopted pragmatic domestic and foreign policies, and Obama is no exception.

Technically speaking, he appears even more pragmatic and traditional than his predecessor George W. Bush, as shown by far more diplomatic talks than military actions and far more multilateral than unilateral actions.

However, Obama does not completely reject idealism, and sometimes acts more like a bookish intellectual than an experienced politician. He has talked a lot but done little probably because it is much easier said than done. Whatever their governing styles are, the U.S. presidents always adhered to the rule that diplomacy and all other activities should serve U.S. national interests.

The United States replaced the United Kingdom as a global superpower after the end of World War II, and now needs to make efforts to maintain its hegemony across the world, in addition to safeguarding its sovereignty and ensuring its development like other countries.

The United States has not signed the U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea because it considers exclusive economic zones to be international waters, which, by its hegemonic logic, should be included in the U.S. sphere of influence. The U.S. sphere of influence covers not only outer space and international waters but also all fields in which it takes a lead in, such as the Internet, and doing so is its long-term national strategy. Any fast-developing country will be instinctively seen by the United States as a direct or indirect challenge to its hegemonic status.

Of course, the changes in the Obama administration’s policy on China have various causes.

Objectively, the current domestic economic situation in the United States is terrible with a continued high unemployment rate. Made-in-China goods are seen here and there [sic], which tends to make China the victim and scapegoat.

Furthermore, it is indeed [a] fact that China is experiencing a rapid development and the trend will continue in the future. In fact, China’s development pace over the first 30 years since its market-oriented reform has not slowed, but China did not draw so much attention like it does now because then, its development was low and small in terms of economic scale.

However, thanks to its reform, a 2 to 3 percentage point decrease in China’s economic growth rate will make many other countries aware of its existence and greatly affect those countries, said Huang.

Another cause is Obama’s inexperience in handling international affairs. Although Obama was very popular during the presidency campaign, he lacks practical executive experience. He has never been mayor, state governor or worked in government departments, and he served only one term as senator, so he is inexperienced in evaluating the world situation and handling relations with other powers.

Furthermore, Obama’s team members, including Hillary Clinton, Bob Gates and Timothy Geithner, all have personal strengths, but how to coordinate their work is a big issue for Obama. In addition to the congress, the opposition party, media and interest groups, China is more prone to be the victim of the friction among various types of political forces in the United States.

~ Maintaining and enhancing its leading status in Asia ~

The particular attention paid by the Obama administration to Asia is increasingly evident. Of course, the United States has never left Asia, and the so-called “returning to Asia” strategy means that the United States seeks to establish, maintain and reinforce its leading status in Asia again, Huang commented.

The importance of Asia to the United States has been unquestionable since the end of World War II. Huang said that there is no doubt that China’s high-speed growth is one of the most important causes behind the United States'”returning to Asia” strategy.

The United States is aware that Asia is the most important economic development region in the early period of the 21st century and is home to China and India, the world’s two largest emerging economies, said Huang. Asia’s economic rise started between the 1960s and the 1980s, with Japan and the “four small dragons” taking the lead and the “five small tigers” following their steps.

The Chinese mainland started its reform and economic rise in 1978 and has shown its growing importance in the Asian economy after the Asian economic crisis in 1997. Following the international financial crisis in 2008, China displayed its considerable influence in the world economy. Although China has never sought a leading status or hegemony, it is an objective fact that China’s high-speed development has evolved from a national phenomenon to a regional phenomenon and from a regional phenomenon to an international phenomenon.

The United States can ignore neither China nor Asia. It is foreseeable that Asia will become more important in international relations, so it is normal for the frequent outbreaks of conflicts, disputes and trouble.

Faced with negative results in the mid-term elections, dealing with internal and foreign affairs became a difficult problem for Obama. The United States, which claims to be a world leader, certainly hopes that there will be less trouble. The conflicts between other countries are within the scope prescribed by the United States.

However, the United States cannot allow other countries to stir up conflict with itself. In regards to foreign affairs, the United States certainly needs to consolidate and strengthen its economic, political and military relations with traditional allies such as Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia, and it will also be helpful for the United States to maintain a good relationship with China.

However, the United States has always regarded China as an uncertain factor. Certain people in the United States are very nervous about the large-scale and rapidly-developing China, which has great potential. It is estimated that there will be more trouble between China and the United States in the next few years, and problems and conflicts will even appear in some new areas and fields. This is also a test and examination for the United States’ “return to Asia’ strategy,” Huang said.

~ China’s consistent foreign policy ~

Huang stressed that no matter how the United States changes its policies towards China and Asia, the most important thing for China is to adhere to its established policies.

During the NPC and CPPCC meetings this year, a foreign reporter asked Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi whether China would adjust its policies accordingly as the U.S. foreign policy had changed. Yang, well known for his prudence, responded without hesitation that China’s foreign policy has always been consistent. Long-term adherence has proved that China means what it says. Since the introduction of the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,’ China has unswervingly adhered to an independent and peaceful foreign policy without succumbing to the strong or bullying the weak. China will never seek hegemony.

Instead, it is committed to following the path of peaceful development and international cooperation for mutual benefit as well as adhering to the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.’ China’s independent and peaceful foreign policy is exactly the opposite of the power politics and hegemony. However, China’s foreign policy will of course advance with the times, namely that China will adjust the policy at the proper time according to its own will, Huang said.

By People’s Daily Online

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