People’s Daily on U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan: Treasury Bonds as Weapons

The following is a signed editorial, written by Ding Gang (丁刚, a People’s Daily senior reporter (or editor, also known for columns at the English-language Global Times).

Published by People’s Daily online on August 4 (GMT). Links within the following blockquotes added during translation – JR.

Now is the time to give Washington a little beating with our financial weapons! We didn’t really want to turn America’s bonds into weapons, but Washington forces China to do so.
现在该是用中国的“金融武器”来敲打一下华盛顿的时候了!我们本不愿意把美国债券当成武器,是华盛顿在逼着中国这样做。

On August 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a motion concerning the debt problem, and its Taiwan group, on August 2, the Taiwan working group initiated a jointly-signed paper. 181 Representatives jointly sent a letter to Obama, demanding the federal government to approve the sales of F-16C/D fighter planes to Taiwan promptly, based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), “in order to ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
美国众议院1日刚刚通过债务问题议案,其台湾小组2日就发起连署。181名众议员联名致函奥巴马总统,要求联邦政府基于《与台湾关系法》的义务,尽速同意出售给台湾F-16C/D型战机,“以确保台海的和平与稳定”。

On that same August 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a motion concerning the debt problem, passed a motion to be put into immediate effect by the Obama administration, to enable the finance department to issue bonds for additional debts amounting to  400 billion US dollars. Should China be the biggest buyer again?
2日当天,美国参院也通过了债务问题议案,并送交奥巴马签署成为法律生效,美国财政部随即获得发行4000亿美元新债的授权。这一次,中国会不会又成为最大的买主呢?

U.S. Congress can’t be unaware of the fact that raising the debt ceiling and issuing bonds again depends on China and other “big capitalists” who would buy them. But at the same time, they don’t consider China’s core interests, and stir further arms sales to Taiwan, to add even more contempt and outrageous arrogance to an already extremely deplorable situation.
美国议员们不会不知道,提高债务上限,发行新债,还是要靠中国等“ ”来购买,但同时,他们又根本不把中国的核心利益放在心上,继续鼓动对台售武,甚至还要升级,其轻蔑与狂妄已到了无以复加的地步。

A Chinese reduction or halt in buying American bonds would make the bonds less valuable, and affect the value of the bonds China is holding. But as things have gone as far as they are now, I’m afraid we will lose more than just dollars if we let the Washington politicians continue their game.
中国停止或大规模减少购买美国国债,会让美国国债变得更不值钱,会影响中国手中已经持有的美国国债的价值。但是,当事情走到这一地步,如果一味地让华盛顿的政客们玩下去,我们损失的恐怕就不只是美元了。

The delivery of some new arms to Taiwan may spur American employment rates a bit, but there is no way that they will bring Taiwan’s military power up to the mainland’s [i. e. China – JR]. But the actual problem lies somewhere else. It is that some members of the Congress keep showing contempt for China’s core interests which shows that they absolutely have no intention to respect China. If we don’t give them a little beating, if we don’t make America feel the pain, Sino-American relations will be impeded by those few people, and the risks of “sitting on a roller coaster” remain inescapable.
美国卖给台湾几件新式武器,除了能拉动一下美国的就业,根本不可能把台湾的军力提升到足以与大陆抗衡的地步。但问题的实质不在这里,而在于美国国会一些议员对中国再三申明的核心利益的轻蔑,这显示出他们压根儿就没打算要尊重中国。如果我们不敲打一下,不让美国感觉到痛,中美关系就总会受到这些人的牵制,就摆脱不了坐“过山车”的风险。

A reduction or stop in buying American bonds will of course spell some losses for China. We must find ways to reduce such losses, and switch from our passive to an active role. Among the measures taken should be a direct relation between the purchases and American policies. For example, the amount to which we buy bonds should be in relation to what America sells to Taiwan. Another example: we should influence international rating agencies, demand a downgrade of American bonds, thus raising the interest rates. Also, we could introduce limited sanctions against the states where the agitating members of Congress come from, thus focusing on striking at their employment rates.
停止或大规模减少购买美国债券,当然会给中国带来一定损失。我们要想方设法减少损失,变被动为主动。在采取措施,逐步调整国家外汇储备结构的同时,还应当考虑怎样才能将购买美国债券直接与美国国内政治挂钩。比如,把购买债券的数额与美国对台售武直接联系在一起;又如,影响国际评级机构,要求对美国债券进行降级,迫使它提升利息;再如,可以对一些起劲鼓动的议员所在的州实行有限的贸易制裁,重点打击其就业。

China is reluctant to use the U.S. bonds it is holding as weapons, as it is the hard-earned money of the Chinese common people, which must be valued highly. But when China’s sovereignty and integrity is offended, we have no other way than turning them into weapons that defend us.
中国并不愿意把手中持有的美国债券当作武器去使用,那是中国老百姓辛辛苦苦赚来的血汗钱,我们必须百倍珍惜。但是,当中国的主权完整受到挑衅时,我们只有让它成为捍卫自己的武器。

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Related

» US gives Taiwan Assurances, Taipei Times, August 9, 2011
» Asia to keep buying US debt, AP, August 9, 2011
» The Costs of Running a Trade Surplus, August 7, 2011

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5 Comments to “People’s Daily on U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan: Treasury Bonds as Weapons”

  1. I read this. When I saw what he had wrote, the first thing I thought was, “this guy has absolutely no idea what he is proposing.” With investors spooked as they are, any whiff of news that China might stop buying treasuries would cause panic selling of the dollar and probably many other assets too.

    He also really doesn’t get the backlash his proposal could have in Congress as well as the fact that any ratings agency that downgraded any country under pressure of another would see its reputation destroyed. People care what these agencies think because of their supposed neutrality, which is why nobody really cares what China’s ratings agencies think about other countries.

    It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some of the proposals in Chinese editorials can be.

    Like

  2. I’ve heard or read statements from China, India, and Russia alike which say that they don’t expect global trends to affect their domestic economies too strongly. If one may add Brazil would be an interesting question – the BRIC countries have actually shown quite a resilience against negative global trends since 2008.

    Beijing may therefore not be that worried about negative effects of editorials like the one above. Same with backlashes in Congress. China’s diplomats are said to be frequently at odds with the CCP’s politbureau decisions – where the foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, isn’t even a member, either of the wider body, or the standing committee.

    Maintaining “stability” at home is a much more important task in the eyes of the politbureau, than good foreign relations, I believe. A certain degree of political isolation may actually be deemed useful to support the political totalitarian skeleton at home. The more people in China fear the outside world, the more you can count on their cooperation, even if there is dissatisfaction about domestic affairs.

    That said, the economy is to some degree market-based now, and the mix of market and state capitalism isn’t always as helpful as certain foreign CEOs like to suggest. China’s own (domestic) debts from previous stimulus programs are probably higher than originally expected (much of it stems from provincial investment companies which lent from state banks). Whatever plans Beijing may have to sting Congress (and indeed America), will have to happen underneath a level that would endanger China’s export industries.

    And yes – I believe that it will backfire. It’s unfortunate that China wants foreign relations only in accordance with the CCP’s view of the world. But it’s good that they state their ideas this bluntly. Those who believe that trade with China and politics are mostly unrelated fields may have to think again – if there’s anything that can make them think.

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  3. Just come across your new blog. Great read.

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  4. Thanks for visiting the blog. I am so busy these days, but perhaps one day I will be as prolific as you with the postings😉

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  5. I guess my rate would be down to a post every two or even only every three days if all my posts were as carefully thought as yours are. As many of them are only direct or indirect translations of Chinese news articles, and frequently rather short ones. it doesn’t take as much time as a first impression might suggest. It takes more time when I’m trying a cartoon.

    I’m looking forward to your next posts, and even more so to times when you might post even more frequently.

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