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China and US 'interdependent and inseparable'

China and US 'interdependent and inseparable' | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
The Chinese and US economies have become "interdependent and inseparable", Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said in Washington on Wednesday after the annual meeting of the US-China joint commission on commerce and trade....
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The Chinese and US economies have become "interdependent and inseparable", Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said in Washington on Wednesday after the annual meeting of the US-China joint commission on commerce and trade.

Dozens of trade issues were tackled during two days of talks that were short on big outcomes but set a positive tone for relations after United States President Barack Obama's re-election and the naming of a new Chinese leadership line-up last month.

Wang said recovery of the world economy in the next five years would be sluggish, and that made the Sino-US economic relationship critically important.

"Our two countries have to strengthen our economic relationship," he said. "We have to come to terms with the fact that we have become interdependent and inseparable."

After the talks, National Copyright Administration vice-chairman Yan Xiaohong said the central and provincial governments and major mainland financial institutions would speed up work next year to ensure they used only legal software. US software producers say piracy costs them billions of dollars a year.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming said 24 different issues were covered during the talks and that Beijing's main priority was ensuring that it enjoyed "fair and equal treatment" in trade and investment.

Chen said the talks had yielded "some progress" but added: "Up to now we have not seen any substantial measures taken by the US side to implement or to honour its promises."

The past year has been a particularly bumpy one for the Sino-US trade relationship, with the US initiating trade complaints against China at the World Trade Organisation and slapping duties on Chinese exports such as solar cells and wind turbine towers.

A congressional study in October called for the US to ban contracts from telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE, saying they posed a security threat. Similar concerns scuttled a 2005 bid by China National Offshore Oil Corp to take over Unocal.

Speaking to US business executives at a dinner after the talks, Wang drew a direct comparison between new Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping and Obama, saying both had a "very heavy weight to bear" to honour promises made during "election" campaigns.

Wang said China was sticking to its plans for economic reform, would observe trade rules and give fair treatment to foreign companies.

He also took a shot at US suspicions of state-owned enterprises and their links to the Communist Party.

"You can't deny the fact that some Americans lack understanding of China and have stereotypes about China," he said.

 
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Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision - Globaltimes.cn

Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
It was a pleasant early December morning in a verdant park in Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong Province. Early risers, carrying on their usual morning exercise, did not expect to see a big name.
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It was a pleasant early December morning in a verdant park in Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong Province. Early risers, carrying on their usual morning exercise, did not expect to see a big name.

The park was not cordoned. There was no red carpet nor were there people waving welcoming banners.

A middle-aged man in a dark suit, and a tieless white shirt, laid a wreath at the park's statue of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Then he walked into the surrounding crowd and began a casual chat.

The visitor was Xi Jinping, the newly elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

During his visit to Guangdong, Xi called on the entire Party and people from all ethnic groups to unswervingly adhere to the path of reform and opening up and put greater focus on pursuing reform in a more systematic, integrated and coordinated way. Xi vowed no stop in reform, and no stop in opening up.

In his first visit outside Beijing as the top CPC leader, Xi went to Guangdong, the forefront of China's reform and opening up, following the route Deng had toured 20 years ago when the country was at a crossroad.

Media reports remarked that Xi is a leader who brings a fresh breeze to the country's political life, unswervingly pushes forward reform and opening up, and is beginning to lead the Chinese nation in realizing the China Dream.

Xi, 59, who was elected to his new role at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Nov. 15, is the first top Party leader born after 1949, the year the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded.

He now leads the 91-year-old CPC, the world largest political party with more than 82 million members, as it rules China, the world's second largest economy.

The whole country and the world are putting their eyes on Xi:

-- What will he do to lead the CPC to better serve the people?

-- What will he do to lead China's 1.3 billion people to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in 2021? Furthermore, what will he do to lead the people to achieve the goal of building an affluent, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious modern socialist country by the time the PRC marks its centennial in 2049?

-- What will he do to lead the country to make its due contribution to world peace and development?

As he met the press on the November day the new leadership was formed, Xi summed up the CPC's mission as comprising three responsibilities -- to the nation, the people and the Party. ADVOCATE OF CHINA DREAM

"The people's longing for a good life is what we are fighting for," Xi said in his first public speech as general secretary on Nov. 15.

Shortly after taking office, Xi and the other six members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee visited the exhibition "The Road Toward Renewal" at the National Museum of China. The comprehensive display illustrates the huge challenges China has surmounted on the road to national revival since 1840.

"Nowadays, everyone is talking about the China Dream," he said. "In my view, realizing the great renewal of the Chinese nation is the Chinese nation's greatest dream in modern history."

To achieve this sacred goal, Xi has clarified his positions on various aspects of the country's development:

On the country's economic development, Xi opposes a blind focus on growth and upholds the principle of scientific development, which seeks sustainability in terms of both resources and the environment.

On political development, he stresses the idea that all power belongs to the people, and calls for active and steady political reform while adhering to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He also stresses the rule of law and exercising state power according to the Constitution.

On cultural development, he highlights developing human talent and fostering a Chinese national spirit, especially as typified by the words of the national anthem: "We will use our flesh and blood to build our new Great Wall."

On social development, he proposes continuous efforts to safeguard and improve people's lives through economic development. He also supports building a harmonious society and realizing a good life for the people based on hard work, while taking into consideration the country's practical circumstances.

On ecological progress, he emphasizes a national strategy of resource conservation and environmental protection and a sustainable pattern of development.

From the Loess Plateau to the southeast coast, from localities to the central leadership, Xi has had a well-rounded political career and has developed a deep understanding of the conditions of his country and people.

In 2007, he was promoted to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th CPC Central Committee, after working for decades in various locations, including Shanghai Municipality, the provinces of Shaanxi, Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang, as well as serving the army.

He served concurrently as a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and as president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. In 2008, he was elected the country's vice president.

Over the past five years, he has participated in the creation of major policies for the Party and the country, and has gained rich leadership experience in all respects.

During that time, Xi was in charge of Party affairs and attached great importance to Party building. He reiterated that the Party must police itself with strict standards as well as listen to the call of ordinary people.

Beginning in 2008, he worked intensively on the campaign to study and implement the Scientific Outlook on Development. The year-and-a-half campaign further made the Scientific Outlook on Development a consensus of the whole Party and country, and a driving force for economic and social development.

He also led a group of officials in drafting the 17th CPC Central Committee's report to the 18th CPC National Congress and the amendment to the CPC Constitution, which were adopted at the congress and have become important guidelines for China's future.

Xi has had a connection with the armed forces since his early days. After graduating from university, he worked at the General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC) for three years, a job that deepened his affection for the army.

In the following years, he served concurrently as Party chief for military subareas in addition to holding his Party and government titles. He was familiarized with grassroots military affairs.

He became CMC vice chairman in 2010 and was named CMC chairman at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee in November 2012.

Xi is also familiar with work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. His 17 years in Fujian gave him a deep understanding of Taiwan and enterprises from Taiwan. The first Taiwan chamber of commerce on the mainland was established in Xiamen when he worked in Fujian. He solved many problems for Taiwan compatriots, and has been seen as a good friend by many of them.

As a top leader in charge of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, Xi helped work out a number of important policies on the long-term stability and prosperity of the two special administrative regions.

In 2008 and 2009 when Hong Kong and Macao were seriously hit by the international financial crisis, Xi visited the cities to show his support.

In 2008, Xi was also tasked with heading up preparations for the much-anticipated 2008 Olympic Games and the subsequent Paralympics, both in Beijing, playing a key role in China's hosting of these high-standard events with distinctive features.

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En Chine, la diffusion de "V pour Vendetta" à la télévision publique créé la surprise

En Chine, la diffusion de "V pour Vendetta" à la télévision publique créé la surprise | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Cette diffusion d'un long métrage racontant la lutte d'un dissident face à un régime fasciste est le sujet le plus commenté par les internautes chinois.
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US expresses concern as Diaoyu Islands sovereignty dispute escalates

US expresses concern as Diaoyu Islands sovereignty dispute escalates | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
The United States has officially voiced its concern to Beijing after a Chinese maritime surveillance plane flew over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, over which both China and Japan claim sovereignty.
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Législatives au Japon : Shinzo Abe, favori, veut "réarmer"

Législatives au Japon : Shinzo Abe, favori, veut "réarmer" | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
A la veille des élections législatives, le chef du Parti libéral-démocrate tente de capter l'électorat nippon en prônant le renforcement des dépenses de l'armée.
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A la tête du Parti libéral-démocrate (PLD, centre droit), le favori des sondages,Shinzo Abe, a vivement critiqué la politique menée par l'administration sortante, parlant, le 1er décembre, de "défaite diplomatique" face à la Chine au sujet des Senkaku (Diaoyu pour les Chinois), îlots disputés par les deux pays et au coeur d'un vif regain de tension depuis le mois de septembre. Considéré comme un faucon, M. Abe veut enrayer le déclin des dépenses militaires japonaises, modifierla Constitution pacifiste - notamment l'article 9 par lequel le Japon renonce à la guerre - et doter l'Archipel d'une armée "normale".

Plus pragmatique, le premier ministre sortant, Yoshihiko Noda, (Parti démocrate du Japon, centre), lui-même favorable à l'idée d'accorder au Japon le droit à l'autodéfense collective - à savoir participer à des alliances -, souhaite la poursuite"du chemin pacifiste suivi depuis la seconde guerre mondiale". Il appelle à "garder la tête froide" en réponse aux problèmes en cours et à agir de façon "raisonnée et stratégique".

Concrètement, autant Shinzo Abe que Yoshihiko Noda penchent pour un renforcement des capacités des Forces d'autodéfense (FAD) et un approfondissement du traité de sécurité avec les Etats-Unis, plus que jamais considéré comme le pilier de la sécurité japonaise. "La Chine, la Corée du Sud et la Russie adoptent une ligne plus dure à l'égard du Japon, alors que l'équilibre des puissances évolue dans la région", s'inquiétait le quotidien Nihon Keizai dans un éditorial du 29 novembre, avant d'insister sur "l'urgence de reconstruire l'alliance nippo-américaine".

Ces propositions ne font pas une diplomatie. Aucun candidat au scrutin de décembre ne semble avoir d'idée pour redynamiser une action qui avait rencontré un certain succès dans les années 1970 et 1980. Axé sur le multilatéralisme, le Japon avait fortement contribué à la création de la Banque asiatique de développement au Forum de coopération Asie-Pacifique (APEC) et savait jouer de sa puissance financière pour soutenir la croissance et le développement sur les cinq continents, tout en restant attaché aux institutions internationales.

Depuis la fin de la guerre froide et l'émergence de nouveaux acteurs comme la Chine, cette stratégie ne fonctionne plus. A cela s'ajoute le relatif déclin économique nippon, amorcé au début des années 1990, et les trop fréquents changements de dirigeants, avec un nouveau premier ministre chaque année depuis 2006.

Si bien que la diplomatie nippone n'évolue que par petites touches. Les FAD sont impliquées depuis 1993 dans des opérations de maintien de paix de l'ONU- la plus récente au Soudan du Sud. Il y eut certes des initiatives, comme celle du premier ministre Junichiro Koizumi (2001-2006) en faveur du "cool Japan ", amorce d'une diplomatie à vocation culturelle. A la tête du gouvernement en 2006-2007, M. Abe avait, lui, proposé un "dialogue quadrilatéral de sécurité". Pensé pour contrerl'influence chinoise, il réunissait le Japon, l'Australie, les Etats-Unis et l'Inde. L'idée était retombée avec l'arrivée au pouvoir en 2007, à Canberra, de Kevin Rudd, sinologue favorable à une bonne entente avec Pékin.

Par la suite, le premier ministre Yukio Hatoyama, à la tête du gouvernement nippon en 2009-2010, avait plaidé pour un rééquilibrage des relations avec les Etats-Unis et un rapprochement avec Pékin et Séoul. Ce choix avait suscité de vives oppositions, au sein même des milieux diplomatiques nippons attachés à l'entente Tokyo-Washington.

Dans le même temps, aucun problème de fond hérité de la seconde guerre mondiale n'a été traité. Ces problèmes sont territoriaux mais portent également sur l'image du pays à l'étranger et particulièrement dans son voisinage immédiat. Celui des femmes dites "de réconfort" (quelque 200 000 Coréennes contraintes de se prostituer pour la soldatesque nippone pendant la guerre) ou encore, depuis le début des années 2000, celui des visites régulières de dirigeants au controversé sanctuaire Yasukuni qui abrite, entre autres, les âmes de criminels de guerre, continuent de nuire aux relations du Japon avec Pékin et Séoul. Tokyo, qui tend à les minimiser, insiste toujours sur des "relations tournées vers l'avenir" et le développement économique. A l'extérieur, cette attitude reste considérée comme un refus d'admettre les erreurs passées. Elle limite la portée des regrets régulièrement formulés par les chefs de gouvernement nippons. "Le mélange entre multilatéralisme et émergence d'un nationalisme régressif, résumeYoshihide Soeya, professeur de politique internationale de l'université Keio, à Tokyo, génère de la confusion dans la politique japonaise, comme parmi les observateurs extérieurs de cette politique."

Si bien que la possible arrivée au pouvoir de M. Abe ne laisse pas d'inquiéter. Outre son soutien à l'idée d'un réarmement du Japon, il défend les visites de leaders nippons à Yasukuni, arguant de l'importance de "rendre hommage à ceux qui sont morts pour leur pays". Et il dénie aux autres pays le droit de se plaindre à ce sujet. En l'état actuel des relations du Japon avec la Chine et la Corée du Sud, cette posture, essentiellement destinée à capter l'électorat nippon, a peu de chances de calmer les tensions. Elle ne devrait pas non plus bénéficier au Japon, sur le plan intérieur comme sur la scène internationale.

 

Philippe Mesmer - Tokyo, correspondance

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l_ASEAN_otage_de_la_rivalite_Sino_Americaine_11_12.pdf

Les effets de rivalités entre US et Chine sur les accords de l'ASEAN

 


Via Marc Meynardi
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100% de Chinois aisés en plus d’ici 2020 : quelles conséquences pour la France et l’Europe ?

100% de Chinois aisés en plus d’ici 2020 : quelles conséquences pour la France et l’Europe ? | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Un rapport du Boston Consulting Group annonce le doublement de la classe aisée chinoise d'ici 2020, cette dernière représentera alors plus de 5% de la consommation mondiale.

Via Marc Meynardi
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La Russie et la Chine s'unissent pour concurrencer Boeing et Airbus

La Russie et la Chine s'unissent pour concurrencer Boeing et Airbus | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Elles vont élaborer conjointement un avion gros porteur long courrier. Les spécialistes des deux pays ont trois ans pour concevoir et dessiner le futur appareil.
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Chinese flotilla patrols waters near Diaoyu Islands - Globaltimes.cn

Chinese flotilla patrols waters near Diaoyu Islands - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
A fleet of the People's Liberation Army Navy patrolled the waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on Monday en route its return voyage from a training operation in the west Pacific, military authorities said.
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The patrol marked the first time for China to confirm its naval operations in the waters near the Diaoyu Islands on the very day when the Navy warships conducted such patrol.

The flotilla, consisting of the DDG-136 Hangzhou and DDG-139 Ningbo destroyers, as well as the two frigates FFG-525 Ma'anshan and FFG-529 Zhoushan from the Navy's Donghai Fleet, passed through the Miyako Strait and entered the West Pacific for a routine training exercise on Nov. 28.

After finishing a series of training operations, the flotilla sailed through a strait near the Yonaguni and Iriomote Islands and arrived in waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands Monday morning.

According to a Xinhua reporter aboard the frigate Zhoushan, the four warships patrolled the waters in formation under rough sea conditions and weather.

Qiu Yanpeng, commander of the task force and also the Donghai Fleet's vice commander, said the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets have been part of China's inherent territory since ancient times.

It is legitimate for China's Navy to patrol in waters under Chinese jurisdiction and it is the Navy's responsibility to safeguard the country's maritime territory and interests, Qiu said.

Monday's patrol in the waters near Diaoyu Islands was the third of its kind conducted since Japan stirred up tensions with China over the islands earlier this year.

Sources with the Ministry of National Defense said a seven-warship task force from the Navy's Beihai Fleet patrolled the waters near the Diaoyu Islands on Oct. 16.

In late September, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun confirmed that Chinese naval ships carried out patrols and military training in the waters earlier that month.

A statement issued by the ministry on Monday said that China will continue naval training in the West Pacific.

The training exercise in the West Pacific was a routine exercise conducted in accordance with the Navy's annual training plan and concerned countries should respect the Chinese Navy's freedom of navigation and aviation in line with international law, it said. 
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Pékin recommande une réaction "prudente" de l'ONU au tir nord-coréen

La Chine mettra son veto à des sanctions "radicales" contre la Corée du Nord suite à son tir de missile, afin de ne pas isoler encore plus ce pays et exacerber ainsi les tensions régionales, a prévenu jeudi la presse officielle chinoise.
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US amendment risks worsening Diaoyu conflict - Globaltimes.cn

US amendment risks worsening Diaoyu conflict - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

The US Senate passed an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act on November 29, stating that the Diaoyu Islands fall under the authority of Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty.

The US has two stances on the Diaoyu Islands. It claims that it takes no position over sovereignty, but recognizes Japan's administrative jurisdiction and holds that the Diaoyu Islands issue falls within the Japan-US Security Treaty.

The US has long been trying to express the first stance and intermittently and evasively reiterates the second meaning. The Senate's passage of the act shows that the US wants to make clear the second meaning through the law.

We can no longer ignore the possible involvement of the US in the Diaoyu Islands issue.

Although currently the act has only been passed by the Senate, most of the times, the National Defense Authorization Act is echoed by the US Congress. And it would be politically difficult for any president to veto this move.

Therefore, the act gives the US Congress good chance to entertain some favored proposals. It is not by chance that this bill took the lead and was proposed by a pro-Japanese senator.

There are more than 100 hardcore anti-China congresspeople while there's almost no pro-China camp in the Congress. Congress can only be tolerant of countries and regions such as Israel, Japan and the "Four Little Asian Tigers."

The US can share profits with them because they are relatively small and they can obey the US in terms of strategies and values.

However, China is a big power. The US does not have the ability to share profits with 1.3 billion people. Also, because of its strong independence, it is impossible for China to obey the US.

This passage of this bill once again shows that the US views China as a strategic adversary. It also shows that the US worries toward China's rise.

The act will have a huge negative impact on the efforts that China and Japan have made to prevent the Diaoyu Islands dispute from becoming a real conflict. Japan will take a harder line because of US support.

However, once there is a real conflict between China and Japan, the US will be very passive.

Strategically, the US will not fight against China because of the Diaoyu Islands which are far away from US territory. Tactically, the Pentagon may not have prepared for that.

Therefore, in fact, these senators' flippant actions will put US national interests in danger.

 

The author is deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China

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China rapidly becoming primary player in post-war Central Asia - Globaltimes.cn

China rapidly becoming primary player in post-war Central Asia - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

China is on its way to becoming the most consequential actor in Central Asia. This isn't a critical or a negative statement, but rather a reflection of a reality on the ground.

The heavy investments in Central Asian infrastructure and natural resources, the push to develop the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and China's focus on developing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization into an economic player are slowly reorienting Central Asia toward China. None of this means that China is aiming to become a regional hegemon, but unless it is willing to write off considerable regional investment, it is going to find itself needing to engage in regional affairs in a more focused manner.

And these actions are likely to be interpreted regionally as hegemonic. A potentially very prosperous corner of the world, Central Asia, is in an early stage of development that could easily be pushed by instability in a wrong direction. China needs to prepare herself to step in and help resolve matters.

First among the potential storm clouds on the horizon is 2014 and the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan. The forces left behind will have a very limited and focused mandate. Their duty will be to protect diplomatic and aid communities and to focus on ensuring that groups like Al Qaeda cannot reform in Afghanistan and pose a threat to US or European interests. Their focus will not be on what the Taliban are doing in general or the instability that they might foster regionally. After over a decade of war, the Western public is tired of Afghanistan and has little appetite for war.

This casts a question over what is going to happen in Afghanistan post-2014, right on China's border. China played a limited role in Afghanistan in the early years after the US invasion, but it has now invested considerable resources into the country that it will have to protect. It is also likely that instability in Afghanistan will have a knock-on effect into Central Asia, where China has even more investments. And all of this will end up having some sort of impact directly on Xinjiang, China's long underdeveloped border region.

The US is in a very different position. It has security concerns from Central Asia and Afghanistan, but these will be addressed by the forces left behind. Some US companies have investments in Central Asia, but these are nowhere near as crucial as those made by Chinese firms.

As former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski put it, the US is "too distant to be dominant in this part of Eurasia." The reality is that the Pamir mountains are too high and the steppe too far away for the US to focus on the region.

China's ascendant investments in Central Asia are something that also stands in contrast to Russia's declining ones. This is a more complex picture, as Russia, for many of the same reasons as China, has a clear strategic interest in Central Asia. But it is no longer the regional hegemon that it once was.

Russia's power has been diluted by growing Chinese interest and Western attention paid to the region as a strategic launching pad into Afghanistan.

On the one hand, Russia realizes that it has to do something about security post-2014 and so is investing military loans to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. But at the same time, its regional security organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, has lost one of its most important members, Uzbekistan.

Even more significant in some ways is the recent statement by Russian energy giant Gazprom that it needed to evaluate its position in Central Asia as it had noticed that the region's producers were "reorienting themselves toward China."

And while it is clear that Russia still has influence regionally, it is not Russian firms that are putting up buildings, laying down roads and rail or investing in rebuilding the underdeveloped region.

Russia may still exert considerable diplomatic influence and soft power in the region, but it is clearly not investing a huge amount in the region.

Instead, seen from the ground, the scope and range of Chinese investments is clear, and China is increasingly shaping itself to be the most consequential power in the region.

This reality may be unpalatable to China, but it is something that it cannot avoid.

China is increasingly reshaping Central Asia to becoming its backyard rather than Russia's and this will bring with it some regional responsibilities that China has not yet figured out how to address. China needs to formulate a proper strategy for Central Asia.

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Group to protect South China Sea fishery |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn

Group to protect South China Sea fishery |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

"Establishment of the subsidiary association will also help China safeguard its territorial sovereignty and its maritime interests, as rising disputes over the South China Sea have occurred in recent years between China and some neighboring countries,” Niu said.

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Le nouvel ambassadeur du Japon en Chine s'engage à améliorer les relations

Le nouvel ambassadeur du Japon en Chine s'engage à améliorer les relations | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Certains consommateurs chinois boycottent désormais les produits nippons, ou renoncent à acheter des automobiles de marque japonaise de peur qu'elles ne soient vandalisées.
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Le nouvel ambassadeur japonais en Chine s'est engagé à améliorer les relations avec Pékin, lundi 24 décembre, après des mois de vives tensions entre les deux pays, alimentées par un conflit territorial autour d'îles inhabitées.

Pékin et Tokyo revendiquent tous deux les Senkaku (Diaoyu pour les Chinois), un archipel inhabité de mer de Chine orientale, à 200 km au nord-est des côtes deTaïwan et 400 km à l'ouest de l'île d'Okinawa. La dispute s'était envenimée en septembre, lorsque Tokyo a de fait nationalisé une partie de ces îles en les rachetant à leur propriétaire privé.

"Ma mission numéro un est d'améliorer les relations entre le Japon et la Chine", a déclaré à la télévision NHK Masato Kitera, un diplomate de carrière qui doitprendre sous peu ses fonctions. "Je vais expliquer aux hauts responsables chinois que nous devons réchauffer nos liens économiques si notre relationpolitique se refroidit, car les activités des entreprises japonaises contribuent à l'économie chinoise", a-t-il ajouté.

DOPER LES ÉCHANGES

"Il est important de doper nos échanges dans divers domaines afin de calmer le ressentiment qu'il peut y avoir entre les deux [pays]". Certains consommateurs chinois boycottent désormais les produits nippons, ou renoncent à acheter des automobiles de marque japonaise de peur qu'elles ne soient vandalisées. Les exportations de voitures japonaises en Chine, constituées surtout de modèles deluxe, s'étaient effondrées de 84,4 % en octobre, par rapport à l'année précédente.

Samedi, le futur premier ministre japonais (qui sera élu mercredi) avait promis d'accomplir les efforts nécessaires à la "reprise d'une relation mutuelle bénéfique reposant sur des intérêts stratégiques communs". Selon le quotidien économiqueNikkei, M. Abe prévoit d'envoyer en janvier le vice-président de son Parti Libéral-Démocrate, Masahiko Komura, porter une lettre de réconciliation aux autorités chinoises.

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La Chine s'engage à promouvoir le développement stable des Instituts Confucius

Le gouvernement chinois soutiendra activement le développement stable des Instituts Confucius, a déclaré dimanche la Conseillère d'Etat Liu Yandong. La...

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Adviser calls for SOEs to exit competitive markets

Adviser calls for SOEs to exit competitive markets | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
CPPCC vice-chairman says state giants should cede competitive markets to private firms
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A senior member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress has called for a dramatic reduction in the number of state-owned enterprises, the most high-profile call for reform since the country's leadership change last month.

Huang Mengfu, a vice-chairman of the nation's top advisory body, told a financial forum hosted by Caijing Magazine in Sanya, Hainan, yesterday that the vast majority of market-dominating SOEs should exit competitive markets to make way for private companies.

"SOEs should retreat from the areas where private companies are able and willing to play, while remaining in some 'key areas' concerned with national security and fields where private companies are unwilling to enter," said Huang, who also heads the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

Huang did not say exactly how the SOEs numbers should be reduced. But his remarks represent the clearest call for reform of the powerful state-owned sector since Hu Jintao vowed last month to "unswervingly" stick to the system of dominant public ownership in his final report as leader of the party.

Beijing overhauled SOEs in 1990s by closing poor performers, merging smaller firms, cutting redundant staff, and introducing a modern stock-holding system.

The sector, with easy access to bank loans and government contracts, has since prospered, especially after the 2008 global financial crisis, when much of a four-trillion-yuan (HK$4.9 trillion) stimulus package went to fund construction projects.

However, a side-effect of the stimulus, as many economists have noted, has been overcapacity in many industries, including steel, cement and non-ferrous metal industries.

Huang said that SOEs dominance in competitive markets has put private companies at a disadvantage.

"The current development mode of SOEs is very problematic," he said. "If the change is not made right now, China will be forced to reform the SOE sector again in five to 10 years."

In addition, government representatives should not participate in the daily operation of SOEs, but only guide their strategic direction as a stakeholder, he added.

There was a flurry of discussion over the the roles of SOEs and private companies after Hu's report to the party congress was seen as sending mixed signals. SOE chiefs welcomed his remarks about public ownership while free-market advocates cheered his talk about equal treatment.

Grace Ng, senior China economist at JPMorgan Chase, said a move to reform SOEs would likely encounter resistance, which would slow its progress relative to the other reform goals announced, such as urbanisation and resource pricing.

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Iles disputées : Tokyo ne négociera pas avec Pékin

Iles disputées : Tokyo ne négociera pas avec Pékin | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Le futur premier ministre japonais, le conservateur Shinzo Abe, a affirmé lundi que la souveraineté japonaise sur les îles Senkaku n'était "pas négociable" avec la Chine.
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Asia Trade Flows to Lead Global Economic Growth

Asia Trade Flows to Lead Global Economic Growth | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
China and India to lead the way Nov. 29 – A report by the United Overseas Bank (UOB) of Singapore has indicated that the global economy will increase by 73 percent over the US$63 trillion seen in 2010 to reach US$109 trillion by 2020, with Asian...

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Trends in Wine Market Reflect Changing Chinese Tastes

Trends in Wine Market Reflect Changing Chinese Tastes | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
In addition to the growing popularity and sophistication of Chinese wines, wine enthusiasts in China are finally embracing California wines....Read More »...

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Expansion guide for luxury brands in China - China Daily

Expansion guide for luxury brands in China - China Daily | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
China DailyExpansion guide for luxury brands in ChinaChina DailySome second- and third-tier cities offer a good market for luxury brands, according to the 2012 Luxury Report released by the Fortune Character Institute this month.

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Xi Jinping vows no stop in reform, opening up - Globaltimes.cn

Xi Jinping vows no stop in reform, opening up - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission (CMC), speaks during a meeting held with government officials and entrepreneurs in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province
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Xi Jinping, the new leader of China's ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), vowed, "No stop in reform, and no stop in opening up," during his trip to south China's Guangdong Province from Dec. 7 to 11.

Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said the 18th CPC National Congress issued "a new declaration" and "a new mobilization order" for deepening reform and opening up.

He called on the entire Party and people from all ethnic groups to unswervingly adhere to the path of reform and opening up and put greater focus on pursuing reform in a more systematic, whole and coordinated way.

Xi said he chose Guangdong, which served as the testing grounds for reform and opening up policies more than 30 years ago, as the destination of his inspection tour because he wanted to "conduct an on-site retrospective of the history of reform and opening up and declare the resolve to continue to push forward the policy."

On the morning of Dec. 8, Xi laid a basket of flowers in front of the statue of late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in Lianhuashan Park in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.

"We came here to revere the statue of Deng Xiaoping to show that we'll unswervingly push forward reform and opening up and strive to achieve new progress, new breakthroughs and new steps in boosting reform and opening up and the country's modernization drive," he said.

Xi planted a lofty fig tree before leaving the park.

During his trip, Xi reiterated, "Reform and opening up was a great awakening in the CPC's history."

This "great awakening" gave rise to both the theories and the practices of the new era, he said.

Xi hailed reform and opening up as "the source of vitality" in the development of modern China, as well as "a magic tool" for the Party and the Chinese people to use to keep pace with the times.

"Reform and opening up is the only route that must be taken to adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics," he said.

Xi stressed that China's reform has come to a juncture where it will be more complicated to tackle difficult issues, and the CPC should deepen reform in vital fields with more political courage and wisdom in a timely manner.

Deepening reform and opening up requires firm confidence, consensus, comprehensive planning and coordinated steps, Xi said.

The new general secretary of the CPC Central Committee described reform and opening up as a "win-or-lose movement" for deciding China's fate and determining whether the country will achieve the goals meant to be achieved by 2021 and 2049, the years marking the centennial anniversaries of the founding of the CPC and the People's Republic of China, respectively. It is also a movement that will contribute to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Implementing development, freeing minds and carrying out reform and opening up are endless tasks, Xi said. "To pause or reverse the reform and opening up will lead to a dead end."

"We should dare to tackle difficulties and venture along dangerous paths to break through barriers to reform presented by ideological differences and vested interests," Xi said.

Xi said the CPC should work out a comprehensive plan to deepen the reform that is designed by the country's top leaders and based on intensified investigation and research. It should also respect grassroots innovations made by the people.

"We should respect the people's practices and creations during reform, as well as encourage bold exploration and a pioneering spirit to accumulate positive momentum to promote reform in all aspects," Xi said.

During his tour in Guangdong, Xi visited villages, urban communities, military troops and research institutions in several cities.

He visited Tencent Inc., a Shenzhen-based, Hong Kong-listed Internet service provider that operates the popular instant messenger Tencent QQ.

Xi also visited a manufacturing base of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. in Zhuhai, where business jets and other general aircraft are assembled.

Xi also toured two new districts, Qianhai in Shenzhen and Hengqin in Zhuhai, established to boost industrial cooperation with the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, respectively.

At the end of his inspection tour in Guangdong, Xi reminded local officials that the country needs doers to construct a well-off society, basically achieve modernization and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Officials at all levels should strengthen their ideals and faith, maintain an optimistic attitude and transform their work style to create more achievements, Xi urged.

Many residents in Shenzhen said they felt inspired as their city was chosen as the first stop of Xi's inspection as general secretary.

"Shenzhen is the showcase of China's reform and opening-up initiative," said Zhao Yang with a local technology firm, adding that the open environment in the city had fostered many youths to achieve success.

Zhao believes that Xi's visit to Shenzhen gave a clear signal to the world that China will resolutely deepen its reform and broaden its opening up in the future. CHANGE OF STYLE

In addition to sending a clear message on the country's persistence in reform and opening up, Xi's visit to Guangdong demonstrated a change of officials' work style.

Many web users linked Xi's visit with a newly revealed policy to reject extravagance and reduce bureaucratic visits and meetings.

In the latest meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee last Tuesday, senior officials agreed that "there should be fewer traffic controls arranged for leaders' security while on trips in order to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public."

According to Shenzhen police, no road was sealed during the CPC general secretary's stay in the city.

"Xi was traveling along with public transport, private cars and taxis, which marks the first senior official visit without issuing traffic controls," said an entry posted on the official microblog of the traffic management authority of Shenzhen.

"Lu Yaming" shared his encounter with Xi's motorcade on popular microblogging site Weibo.com, saying that Xi's minibus had transparent glass and no curtains.

"It was travelling at about 60 km/h with only one escort vehicle when it passed by," the netizen added, concluding, "The style has indeed changed."

Many other netizens also welcomed the change and invited Xi to return to Shenzhen on a regular basis.

Deng Guohua, whose family hosted Xi during his stay in Yumin Village, said he noticed that the leader talked in a natural way, without any sense of grandeur.

Another Shenzhen resident told Xinhua that he wished he was at Lianhuashan Park on Saturday morning to photograph Xi with his phone.

"It's rare that police did not ask ordinary people to leave and it means that Xi wants to talk to us," said the man.

A former teacher in Shenzhen also said he felt that the new work style showed that the general secretary had noticed what the people are thinking.

"From Xi's visit, I see a clear demonstration that reform and opening up cannot be changed but certain bureaucratic work style can be changed," said the retiree.

 
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Turning sanctions into opportunity - Globaltimes.cn

Turning sanctions into opportunity - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it
It’s early on a weekday afternoon, and Sadeghieh station in downtown Tehran is bustling with passengers.
Charles Barthelemy's insight:

It's early on a weekday afternoon, and Sadeghieh station in downtown Tehran is bustling with passengers. Thanks to Chinese investment, a train painted in bright white, green and blue prepares for departure, helping people to move ahead in an economy crippled by sanctions and diplomatic isolation. 

Iran is in dire need of investment and business know-how, and its huge economic potential makes it a tempting destination for foreign companies. Strained relations between Iran and the West have created business opportunities for Chinese companies.

Currently, more than 60 large-scale Chinese enterprises have a presence in Iran, mainly focusing on the energy, rail transportation, resources, telecommunication, automobile and power-generation sectors. In 2011, the bilateral trade volume between China and Iran reached $45.1 billion, according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But these business opportunities come with extremely high stakes. Sanctions and Iran's geopolitical situation make doing business there extremely risky. As the country's financial infrastructure has been cut off from global institutions, making a simple payment is a big challenge for any company doing trans-border business in Iran.

"It's very difficult, but we don't want to give up on this market," said a veteran Chinese businessman based in Tehran. "It is a unique market where literally every industry has huge demand."

Jointly building the future

The double-decker train of subway Line 5 at Sadeghieh station, designed by Chinese company Norinco International, links Tehran and Karaj, a satellite city of two million people. Around 400,000 people commute daily along the 43-kilometer line. The train was manufactured by Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Co (TWM), a joint venture between Norinco and the Tehran subway operator.

TWM is located in the southwest of Tehran. In the huge sheltered workshop, staff carry out a variety of jobs from electrical wiring to cabin water-proofing. In one corner, a white board displays different shifts.

In many ways, TWM appears to be a modern manufacturing site. In its seven years, TWM has mastered the advanced technology required for building subway trains. 

The joint venture is now pressing ahead with subway systems in other Iranian cities. Factories like this would hardly raise an eyebrow in developed or emerging countries, but this one carries a special significance in Tehran. It represents the ambition of a Muslim country seeking to revive itself in the face of decades of sanctions and isolation. The factory also represents Chinese enterprises' twisting road of expansion in Iran. 

Detour from development

Halfway along Line 5, an expansive Asian Games complex can be seen. Tehran hosted the Asian Games in 1974 in a huge show of national strength before the 1979 revolution. The games were meant to showcase Iran's regional status and level of modernization. The regime of that time had the ambition of turning Iran into the "Japan of west Asia." 

Today, dilapidated buildings against the backdrop of barren mountains reflect only a sense of bitterness. Iran's modernization drive was disrupted by its eight-year war with Iraq and rounds of tough sanctions imposed by the West. According to World Bank data, Iran's GDP ranked 32nd in the world in 2011, behind Thailand and Colombia. 

Iran, still a formidable force in west Asia and one of the world's major oil exporters, is seeking opportunities out of oppressive conditions. Modern factories do more than fill a market void and see off competitors. "We can use the sanctions to develop Iran," said Hossein Kanani Moghaddam, founder and general secretary of the Green Party. "If we can't purchase some goods from the US, we can produce from Iran. It can help Iranian people, and use the power to go against the sanctions."

Although it sits on rich oil reserves, Iran has tried to avoid the "oil curse" by developing a diverse industrial system and pursuing independent diplomacy. At the moment, the economic data is still worrying. Inflation, high unemployment and a growing income gap continue to overshadow the country.  At the same time, the government has to strike a balance between fostering effective competition in the market and taking care of its poor. 

Winning together

Indeed, signs of hope can be seen in Tehran. A desire to change has made parts of the city veritably bustling. In the northern part of the capital, luxurious office towers are being built. In the west, a hemispherical high-end shopping mall is under construction. In the downtown shopping district, fashionable items, from the latest electronic gadgets to trendy jeans, are a ubiquitous sight. Chinese companies are seeking opportunities to prosper.

Subway Line 5 is expected to expand further west, given its smooth operation and Tehran's rising demand for transportation. Smaller towns along the route have been integrated into the broader economic belt, creating more jobs outside the super-sized capital. This subway line also defies the widely-held stereotype that China's investment in Iran solely targets the energy sector. This is a typical win-win project that benefits locals and increases Chinese companies' market share.

As rush hour approaches, the train and platform become more crowded, and thousands of people end their work for the day as they seek to fulfill their ambitions and desires.

 
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Vietnam steps up sea patrols as tensions with China climb

Vietnam steps up sea patrols as tensions with China climb | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

Vietnam condemned on Tuesday China’s claims to disputed South China Sea islands as a serious violation of its sovereignty after saying it was setting up patrols to protect its fisheries and accusing Chinese boats of sabotage.

The condemnation of China’s claims to the sea and its numerous reefs and tiny islands was the strongest yet from Vietnam since tension flared this year and came after India declared itself ready to send navy ships to safeguard its interests in the disputed waters.

Claims by an increasingly powerful China over most of the South China Sea have set it directly against US allies Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also claim parts of the mineral-rich waters.

Vietnam’s condemnation came a day after its state oil and gas company, Petrovietnam, accused Chinese boats of sabotaging an exploration operation by cutting a seismic cable being towed behind a Vietnamese boat.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned the cable cutting as well as some recent Chinese provincial regulations that identified the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands as Chinese, and a map that did the same thing.

“The actions of the Chinese side have seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagos,” the spokesman, Luong Thanh Nghi, said in a statement.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry officials met representatives of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi on Monday, Nghi said.

The Vietnamese officials handed over a diplomatic note “resolutely opposing the above mentioned actions by the Chinese side, asking China to respect Vietnam’s sovereignty, to immediately stop such wrongful acts and not to repeat similar actions.”

Earlier, Vietnam said civilian-led patrols, backed by marine police and a border force, would be deployed from Jan. 25 to stop foreign vessels violating fishing laws in Vietnam’s waters.

A decree on the Vietnamese patrols was signed on November 29, the day Chinese media announced new rules authorising police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board and seize foreign ships in the South China Sea.

“It’s going to lead to friction,” Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia security expert at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said of China’s new rules that take effect from Jan. 1 on boarding ships which “illegally enter” waters it claims.

“If it begins to assert these rights and isn’t challenged, over time it becomes customary, it becomes practice.”

On Monday, Petrovietnam said the seismic vessel had been operating outside the Gulf of Tonkin when the cable was severed on Friday. It had earlier been surveying the Nam Con Son basin further south – an area where Indian state-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has a stake in a Vietnamese gas field.

Petrovietnam posted on its website comments by the deputy head of exploration, Pham Viet Dung, in which he said the cable was repaired and the survey resumed the following day.

“The blatant violation of Vietnamese waters by Chinese fishing vessels not only violates the sovereignty ... of Vietnam but also interferes in the normal operations of Vietnamese fishermen and affects the maritime activities of Petrovietnam,” Dung was quoted as saying.

Asked about the complaint, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a briefing in Beijing that China was checking the reports of the incident, which he said was understood to have taken place in an area of overlapping claims.

“Chinese fishing boats were operating in normal fishing activities,” Hong said.

India has also declared itself ready to deploy naval vessels to the South China Sea to protect its oil-exploration interests there, a new source of tension in a disputed area where fears of conflict have been growing steadily.

Indian navy chief, Admiral D.K Joshi, said on Monday that, while India was not a territorial claimant in the South China Sea, it was prepared to act, if necessary, to protect its maritime and economic interests in the region.

“When the requirement is there, for example, in situations where our country’s interests are involved, for example ONGC ... we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,” Joshi told a news conference.

“Now, are we preparing for it? Are we having exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes,” he said.

An Indian government spokesman on Tuesday played down the comments: “This is an issue for the parties concerned to resolve.”

India is not the only non-claimant nation concerned about disruption to shipping or oil exploration in the South China Sea. The United States, a close ally to several of the Southeast Asian claimants, has also voiced concern at the prospect of China stopping international ships in contested waters.

India has sparred diplomatically with China in the past over its gas and oil exploration block off the coast of Vietnam.

Any display of naval assertiveness by India in the South China Sea would likely fuel concern that the navies of the two rapidly growing Asian giants could be on a collision course as they seek to protect trade routes and lock in the supply of coal, minerals and other raw material from foreign sources.

Joshi described the modernisation of China’s navy as “truly impressive” and a source of major concern for India.

Asked what China would do if Indian navy entered the South China Sea to protect its oil interests, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong, said China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the sea’s islands and surrounding waters.

“China opposes unilateral oil and gas development in disputed waters of the South China Sea. We hope that concerned countries respect China’s position and rights, and respect efforts made through bilateral talks to resolve disputes.”

Singapore, home to the world’s second-busiest container port, joined the Philippines on Monday in expressing concern at the prospect of Chinese police boarding ships. The Philippines on Saturday condemned the Chinese plan as illegal.

Estimates for proven and undiscovered oil reserves in the South China Sea range as high as 213 billion barrels of oil, the US Energy Information Administration said in a 2008 report. That would surpass the proven oil reserves of every country except Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, according to the BP Statistical Review.

On Monday, China’s National Energy Administration said China aims to produce 15 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from the South China Sea by 2015.

It said the sea would “form the main part” of China’s offshore gas exploration plans.

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Japan looks to Central Asia for secure economic counterbalance - Globaltimes.cn

Japan looks to Central Asia for secure economic counterbalance - Globaltimes.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

With the dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands still roiling the East China Sea, Japan has intensified its activities in Central Asia.

Recently, Japan held the fourth ministerial meeting of the "Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue" in Tokyo. The event was not ignored by the five Central Asian republics and ministers of foreign affairs were there in full force.

The participants expressed their desire to develop the Japanese-Central Asian relationship and assured that they would in every possible way strengthen international cooperation.

In the long term, they came to an agreement that Japan would allocate $700 million for the implementation of joint projects. The discussion of regional security issues and joint assistance to Afghanistan was also an important part of the multilateral dialogue.

Japan, despite its huge public debt and the threat of economic recession, remains quite attractive to the former post-Soviet states.

In Central Asia, Japan is associated with high-speed trains and highways, high-quality cars and electronics, and advanced telecommunications and robotics technology.

Despite economic booms elsewhere in East Asia, Japan is still perceived as a model of a modernized society and developed economy.

Kazakhstan is also modernizing, adopting new technological ventures in which the best practices of the US, Germany, France, South Korea and other developed countries are being adopted. The technological experiences of Japan are also of critical importance.

At the last meeting of the "Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue" in Tokyo, Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov said that Japan has enormous economic and intellectual potential, which allows it to make a practical contribution to the strengthening of regional integration. Participants in the meeting considered ways of tackling regional problems in such areas as rational use and management of water and energy resources, development of transit-transport potential of the region and the infiltration of new technologies.

Political events also played a role. In autumn 2010, there was an incident with the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat by Japanese guards in disputed waters, which sparked a subsequent partial ban on rare earth exports to Japan.

Though China didn't officially link these events, Japan began to show its concern about its economic vulnerabilities.

Currently, because of worsening Sino-Japanese territorial disputes, Japan's anxiety has intensified, because it gets more than 90 percent of its rare earths from China.

China has no monopoly over rare earths, but has come to dominate the production chain through its low-cost processing facilities.

As a result, in order to reduce its dependency, Japan has turned its attention to Central Asia.

Japan has become actively involved in building a rare earth processing factory in Kazakhstan's Stepnogorsk, with the aim of exporting rare earths to Japan by next January.

Kazakhstan doesn't see stronger economic relations with Japan as an alternative to good neighbor relations with China.

It is eager to help find a solution to this breach of harmonious relations, and will work through international organizations to offer any help it can to find political solutions to the conflict between the two Asian giants.

 

The author is head of the Department of Foreign Policy Studies at the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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An amendment that could hurt US interests|chinadaily.com.cn

An amendment that could hurt US interests|chinadaily.com.cn | Culture et Géopolitique Chinoise | Scoop.it

The US Senate passed an amendment to the national defense authorization bill for 2013 on Thursday, stressing Washington's right to navigate freely in the East China Sea, which, it said, was an inalienable part of Asia's maritime interests.
The amendment, which is yet to be approved by the US House of Representatives and signed by President Barack Obama, puts China's Diaoyu Islands under the purview of a US-Japan security treaty. Despite the US saying that it will not support either China or Japan in the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, the amendment says the US acknowledges that the islands have been under Japan's administration and unilateral action from a third party will not influence its stance. It also reaffirms Washington's security commitment to Tokyo as stipulated in the US-Japan security pact.
The passing of the amendment once again exposes the disgraceful role the US has played in escalating Sino-Japanese tensions.
The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands has pushed Sino-Japanese relations to their lowest since the normalization of their diplomatic ties in 1972. A lingering strain in Sino-Japanese relations will not only be detrimental to the security, stability, peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia, but also hurt the global economic recovery.
Responsible countries and politicians are expected to promote reconciliation and stability in Sino-Japanese ties. Regrettably, the US, which as the world's sole superpower has time and again told other countries to act responsibly, has done exactly the opposite by helping escalate Sino-Japanese tensions.
The move by the US Senate will inevitably embolden rightist forces in Japan to take further actions challenging China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and fan bilateral tensions, which the US thinks will help it realize its geopolitical goal of "maintaining a divided East Asia".
However, in the long run facts will prove that the US Senate has once again made a foolhardy decision. It is possible that the US' shortsighted move will exert some pressure on China, but in the end it will compromise the interests of the US.
Given the explicit support of the US, Japan is likely to maintain its offensive posture on the Diaoyu Islands. But any offensive Japanese move that compromises China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will invite some strong countermeasures from Beijing on the political, economic, diplomatic and military fronts.
China's long-cherished principle has been to not fire the first shot in a conflict. But that doesn't mean it will not retaliate or counterattack if another country tries to hijack its national interests.
An armed conflict between China and Japan, the two major East Asian powers, will not only undermine the interests of their peoples, but also drag the US deep into an abyss of suffering.
By trying to pass an amendment aimed at coercing China into making concessions on the Diaoyu Islands dispute, the US Senate has underestimated Chinese people's determination and courage to maintain the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Such a strategic misjudgment, if not corrected, could lead to the US suffering avoidable setbacks.
Unlike a century ago, China's fate no longer depends entirely on Western powers.
Promoting peace and development remains China's strategic choice and constitutes an important component of its professed road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under such a national strategy, China's top national interest is to focus on economic and social construction aimed at building an all-round well-off society as soon as possible which will finally lead to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
However, such a strategy does not mean China will tolerate provocations and attacks just to continue enjoying strategic opportunities.
As a Chinese saying goes, the US would do better to pull back before it is too late. Hopefully, American politicians will use their wisdom, vision and strategic courage to put a brake on Washington's actions that could be detrimental to the interests of the US as well as other countries.
The author is a rear admiral and former director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the People's Liberation Army National Defense University.

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