Archive for July, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Popular History Reader, Implementing the Spirit of Comrade Jiang Zemin’s Instructions

Main Link: Jiang Zemin writes Foreword, Emphasizes Learning from Chinese Naton’s Development History (Xinhua article’s headline)

Xi Jinping, Angela Merkel, October 2009

Vivid learning material for the German chancellor: Xi Jinping spreads Jiang Zemin’s energy and IT-related works during a visit in Berlin, on October 12, 2009. Click picture for source.

Xinhua, July 30, 2012 — To implement the spirit of Comrade Jiang Zemin’s instructions to attach importance to learning Chinese history, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has arranged the publication of a “Concise Chinese History Reader”, written by history scholars and experts, and published recently. Jiang Zemin wrote a foreword for “A Concise Chinese History Reader”, titled “Pay High Attention to Learning the Chinese Nation’s History of Development”. In his foreword, Jiang Zemin pointed out that we need to record our country’s and our nation’s history better, that we must conscientiously summarize and carry on with the successful experience of reform and opening and the building of socialist modernization, and also emphasize and draw on historical experience, scientifically grasp and correctly make use of historical patterns, correctly learn from the experiences of historic dynasties’ rises and falls.

新华网北京7月30日电  为落实江泽民同志关于重视学习中国历史的指示精神,中国社会科学院组织史学界专家学者编写的《简明中国历史读本》近日出版。江泽民为《简明中国历史读本》撰写了题为“高度重视学习中华民族发展史”的序言。江泽民在序言中指出,要使我们的国家、我们的民族发展得更好,我们必须认真总结和发扬改革开放和社会主义现代化建设的成功经验,也必须注重汲取和运用历史经验,科学把握和正确运用历史规律,正确借鉴历代治乱兴衰的经验教训。

Jiang Zemin emphasized that a nation’s history deeply influences its present tense and its future. Today’s China developed from China’s history. Our country’s and nation’s history of development, inluding the deep rationale of safeguarding of peace and stability, also promulgates the historical inevitablity of our country’s road of development. To strive for the successes of reform and opening, and the building of socialist modernization, we must not only understand China’s present tense, but its recent and more distant past. To read more extensively about the Chinese nation’s development history, we can deepen our national feelings, enhance national self-confidence, uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics even more strongly, and achieve the magnificient cause of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.


Jiang Zemin points out that to learn the Chinese nation’s history of development is an important way of promoting the spirit of patriotism, and to strengthen national cohesion. Patriotism is the source of the Chinese nation standing united as one, and for a spirit of unremitting efforts for self-improvement. In the long history of Chinese development, all nationalities of our country have achieved brilliant achievements through united struggle. All of our country’s nationalities went through difficult twists and turns, they are all vivid teaching material for patriotism, and they all inspire our strong spiritual force to tirelessly struggle for national development and progress. To build deep love for the motherland and the nation, a reasonable love, it is essential to attach imprtance to learning the Chinese nation’s history of development, and to constantly enrich our knowledge.


Jiang Zemin emphasized that the entire party, but particularly leading cadres must consciously learn history, ensure the importance of cultivating history’s status, to read some history, especially the history of the Chinese nation’s development, learn from experience, mold sentiments, broaden their horizons, use this to solidly establish the correct world view, the correct outlook on life, and values, to strengthen their historic sense of mission and responsibility, to increase their exploration of issues, and their levels of analyzing abilities. In the new situation, we do not only need to learn Chinese history, but world history, too. We must be good at understanding Chinese and foreign historical successes and failures, understand and grasp historic development and societies’ progress patterns from experience and lessons, and understand and grasp the big trends of development in our times. At the same time, we need to explain our history to the world, especially the hardship the Chinese antion suffered in recent history, and its great struggle, to let foreign people understand our country’s history and national situation, to help them to objectively explore and analyze today’s China form a historic perspective.


The “Concise Chinese History Reader” has been compiled by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ history research institute. The book’s train of thought is guided by Marxist materialism, profoundly discusses Chinese history from prehistoric humankind to the origins of civilization, up until the Xinhai Revolution’s outbreak in 1911, and provides popularized Chinese history reading material for the numerous cadres and the masses.


The article is among the top news at Xinhua Net, and was also among the headlines on China National Radio‘s morning news on Tuesday, but not on websites without direct party affiliation.



» Big Daddy’s Latest Workings, Oct 16, 2009


Monday, July 30, 2012

Cam Ranh Bay: Nothing to Deploy

The following are translations from People’s Daily and from the Voice of Russia‘s German service.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

People’s Daily, July 30, 2012

Russian president Vladimir Putin said on July 27 that Russia would provide ten billion US dollars in loans to Vietnam, eight billion thereof for the construction of nuclear power plants in Vietnam. Vietnamese state chairman Truong Tan Sang said on the same day that Vietnam will allow Russia to build a ship maintenance base in Cam Ranh Bay. Truong Tan Sang clarified that Russian use of the bay didn’t amount to a military base, but it could help to improve “military cooperation” between the two sides, and agreed with Russia’s proposal to upgrade the two countries’ relations to a a strategic-partnership level.


In fact, Putin’s generous loan for Vietnam means to counter American encroachment on Cam Ranh Bay. In June this year, American secretary of defense Leon Panetta made a high-key three-day visit to Vietnam, after participating in the Shangrila Dialog Forum. On June 3, Panetta visited and inspected Cam Ranh Bay’s former American base, thus being the first American secretary of defense after the Vietnam war to visit Cam Ranh Bay. He then separately met with Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung and defense minister Phung Quang Thanh, to explore the prospects of military cooperation between the two countries.


At a joint press conference with the Vietnamese defense minister, Panetta publicly said: “Only if Vietnam or the Philippines become powerful, there will be stability in the South-East Asian region.”1) Panetta also said that Cam Ranh Bay was an important harbor bay, and if Vietnam wanted to improve the Cam Ranh Bay area and needed help, America would like to provide help. The U.S. Navy would be interested in visiting Cam Ranh Bay regularly in the future. Panetta emphasized that the purpose of his trip to Vietnam was to establish mutual trust between the two countries and their militaries. America and Vietnam should continue to develop their bilateral relations in all fields, especially in defense and security cooperation. Panetta’s visit, full of symbolic meaning got [a lot of] attention and was seen as a prelude to growing warmth in comprehensive U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation.

在与越南国防部长冯光青举行的联合记者会上,帕内塔公开表示:“只有越南或菲律宾变得强大,东南亚地区才会稳定。”帕内塔还表示,金兰湾是一个重要的港 湾,如果越南有意改善金兰湾地区且需要帮助,美国愿意提供。美国海军未来有意再次赴金兰湾做定期访问。帕内塔强调说,他越南之行的目的是建立两国和两军之 间的互信。美越应该继续发展各领域的双边关系,特别是在国防和安全合作方面。这次充满象征意义的访问备受关注,被认为是美越军事合作全面升温的前奏。


Cam Ranh Bay in itself isn’t significant for Vietnam. Its navy currently only has less than ten frigates, and isn’t able to build frigates by itself. Therefore, no matter how beautiful its harbors might be, Vietnam’s navy is also just a theoretically-existing navy. Therefore, the significance of Cam Ranh Bay lies in the stationing of big powers’ fleets there.

对于越南来说,金兰湾本身的意义并不重大。现在的越南海军只有个位数的轻型护卫舰,而且本国连制造这种护卫舰的能力都没有。所以,不管拥有何种良港,越南海军也只是一支理论上存在的海军。所以,金兰湾的意义在于被大国舰队进驻 。

Ever since normalization of its relations with Vietnam, Cam Ranh Bay has been on the Americans’ minds, and they made demands to have Cam Ranh Bay leased to them. Especially in 1992, when America withdrew from its last stronghold – Subic Bay and Clark Air Base in the Philippines -, America wanted to return to Cam Ranh Bay even more. In 1994, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Richard Macke addressed the issue of re-opening Cam Ranh Bay as a military base.



It seems that by now, America and Vietnam have made up their minds to cooperate. Panetta said in June that to deploy its warships from its West Coast to the Asia-Pacific region, it just needed to be able to use harbors like Cam Ranh Bay. […]

目前看来,美国与越南合作的决心已定。帕内塔今年6月份访问越南时表示,美国在把部署在美国西岸的战舰调至亚太地区时,就需要能够使用像越南金兰湾这样的港口。 […]

As it gains national strength, Russia also prepares to return to Cam Ranh Bay. On October 6, 2010, the Russian Naval Inspection Department “suddenly” said that the Russian Navy bad recently completed its work on material relating to a restoration of Cam Ranh Bay. If possible, Cam Ranh Bay should be used as a naval base again within three years. Russian paper “The Independent” quoted naval sources as saying that would enter a leasing contract to return to Cam Ranh Bay. The leasing period should have a duration of at least 25 years, with a possibility to extend the duration after those 25 years.


Vietnam’s foreign ministry said many times that it wouldn’t lease Cam Ranh Bay to foreigners, asserting that “Vietnam emphasized many times that it won’t use Cam Ranh Bay for military purposes in cooperation with foreign countries, and will develop the Cam Ranh Bay region’s potential for serving the cause of construction and defense of the country”. But there are also views that when it comes to the fengshui treasure of Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam is waiting for the best bid and has turned Cam Ranh Bay bargaining chip in its game with America, Russia, and even China.

越南外交部多次表示,不会对外出租金兰湾用做军港,声称“越南多次强调不会与外国合作使用金兰湾用于军事目的,而将开发金兰湾地区的潜力,服务于建设和保 卫国家的事业”。但有评论认为,面对金兰湾这块风水宝地,越南是待价而沽,越南已把金兰湾当作与美国、俄罗斯甚至中国博弈的筹码。

Voice of Russia (German service), July 30, 2012

Russia, or its official media, seem to see Cam Ranh as a future naval base, anyway. At least, that’s how a Russian press review by the Voice of Russia’s German service comes across (even if with one or two side blows at the Russian navy). However, the story may already be superseded by more remarks from Moscow which deny that Cam Ranh Bay would become a full military base, and from Vietnamese state chairman Truong, who remarked (also to the Voice of Russia, reportedly) that the ship repair and maintenance facilities at Cam Ranh Bay will be available to all friendly navies and can be used to deepen military cooperation between Hanoi and Moscow. Anyway, the Voice of Russia reported [earlier] that

Russia intends to establish as many as three naval bases abroad. [The return] to the Vietnamese harbor Cam Ranh and to the Cuban harbor of Lourdes are planned. The admirals may rather prefer the Seychelles, which are popular with tourists. Experts view this as future plans, however, as currently, the country [Russia] has nothing to deploy there.

Russland hat vor, gleich drei Marinestützpunkte im Ausland einzurichten. Geplant ist [die Rückkehr] in dem vietnamesischen Hafen Cam Ranh und den kubanischen Hafen Lourdes. Die Admiräle werden wohl die bei den Touristen populären Seychellen-Inseln vorziehen. Experten bewerten dies aber als Zukunftspläne, weil heute das Land einfach über nichts verfügt, was es in den ausländischen Stützpunkten stationieren könnte.2)



1) From the U.S. Department of Defense transcript:

And the goal of the United States — let me make clear — is to advance exactly what the general referred to, advance the independence and the sovereignty of all nations in this region. It is in the interest of stability — it’s in the interest of stability to have a strong Vietnam, a strong Indonesia, a strong Philippines, a strong Singapore and strong nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Frankly, the most destabilizing situation would be if we had a group of weak nations and only the United States and China were major powers in this region.

2) Voice of Russia (Stimme Russlands), July 30, 10:10 GMT, 15700 kHz.


» Not a Military Base, Vietnam Net, July 29, 2012
» Keeping an Angry Readership posted, July 28, 2012
» Cam Ranh Bay, Wikipedia, accessed July 30, 2012


Monday, July 30, 2012

Patriotic Education in HK: “Foster a Sense of Affection”

The BBC found  the Hong Kong public in a “restive” mood during party and state chairman Hu Jintao‘s recent visit to the territory, to mark the fifteenth anniversary of its handover, and cited some reasons: a wealth gap within society which – reportedly  – outstrips all other developed nations, and freedom issues.

What probably makes things worse in Beijing’s views is that opinion polls state the public mood openly. The Hong Kong Standard, on June 29:

In a December 2011 survey conducted by the Public Opinion Programme at the University of Hong Kong, people identifying themselves as “Hong Kong citizens” outnumbered those who saw themselves as “Chinese citizens” by about 20 to 30 percentage points.

The proportion of those who identified themselves as “Chinese citizens” had dropped to 17 percent since 2000.

All that, the HK Standard suggested, after more positive trends, and until recent mainland development had, among Hong Kongers, casted doubt on the country they are supposed to embrace.

The Daily Telegraph quoted the University of Hong Kong’s poll, too: the 17 or rather 16.6 per cent of Hong Kongers who identified themselves first as Chinese citizens was the lowest level during the 15 years since the special administrative zone of seven million was returned to China in 1997 in a blaze of patriotic fervour.

I’m not aware of the numbers in 1997 or 1998, and maybe, the last line is mainly meant to make the current numbers more dramatic.

But reactions from Beijing seem to confirm that the trend is worrying the CCP.

When not all is well in Hong Kong, what can you do? Apply the things that work so successfully for you in mainland China. OK – you can’t do exactly that. You can’t simply arrest those who conduct the scandalous polls. But you can unleash your friends within the Hong Kong press. Have them call the professor in question a political fraudster with evil intentions. Suggest that his scholarship is a slave of political bribery.

And then get the shit you have hurled right back into your own face:

Chung gamely stood up for himself, and the feelings of the Hong Kong people, by rejecting “Cultural Revolution-style curses and defamations,” which had been lobbed by pro-Beijing newspapers.  These, he wryly pointed out, are “not conducive to the building of Chinese national identity among Hong Kong people.”

He didn’t even get his hands dirty by reacting.

So what else can you do?

Oh, you can introduce patriotic education! Or rather, you can have your satellites in Hong Kong – the place with a high degree of autonomy – introduce Moral and National Education (MNE, 德育及國民教育). The efforts to that end had been going on for a while, and the Hong Kong government, under its new CEO and chief secretary, seems to be determined to see it through now. It is scheduled to begin in September this year, and to become compulsory in 2015.

Welcome to my Corruption Pool

Gee, you little guys are FILTHY! You’ll need a brainwash.

Brainwashing is against Hong Kong’s core values, Channel News Asia quotes education secretary Eddie Ng, but on Sunday, one day after his statement,

Thousands of stroller-pushing Hong Kong parents and activists [..] protested a plan to introduce national education lessons, slamming it as a bid to brainwash children with Chinese propaganda.

Police estimates say that 19,000 protesters took part; and the organizers had yet to release their own estimates, Channel News Asia wrote yesterday.

A more recent report (i. e. of today) by Information Daily (formerly egovmonitor) quotes police estimates of 30,000 participants, and protesters as claiming that 90,000 people took to the streets. The particular curriculum

is initially based on a 34 page booklet which extols the virtue of the one party system in China and argues that only under the communist regime could society and economy improve,

writes Information Daily.

Hong Kong’s Sing Pao (成報) quotes a statement by a Civic Alliance against MNE (民间反对国民教育科大联盟) as the main organizer, also with a claim that 90,000 people took part in Sunday’s protests.

“Patriotic education” is meant to start with elementary school – hence the strollers among the demonstrators -, and shall foster a sense of affection for the country, Time quotes the Education Bureau’s curriculum guide.

The curriculum was devised by a body lead by another University of Hong Kong professor, Lee Chack-fan.

But one important tool seems to be missing in the educational equipment box – one which worked more efficiently than any other in mainland China: fear. So far, options to intimidate the Hong Kong public are limited.



» Tens of Thousands Protest, VoA, July 19, 2012
» Panel on Education Minutes, Legco, July 12, 2011
» How to Corrupt an Open Society, Aug 29, 2009


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Taiwan’s Flag …

… was back to Regent Street / Piccadilly Circus today – at least for a while. Taiwanese students and travellers rallied holding flags of their own right where the Regent Street Association had removed the ROC flag, apparently on Tuesday. The BBC‘s photo collection seem to suggest that it was quite a good-natured and even cheerful event.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Keeping an Angry Readership Posted: Will Vietnam become an American Ally?

Soft power is something China’s leaders want to build both abroad and at home – those among China’s leaders who care about the concept, anyway. Huanqiu Shibao, the trade journal for angry nationalists, tries to involve its angry readers, and is quite probbly following a consensus between a number of stakeholders (not least the propaganda department).

When reading Huanqiu Shibao these days, it feels a bit like reading a copy of Reader’s Digest from the 1960s (I still got some on the attic), and I’m pretty sure that Huanqiu’s more recent approach is modelled after that perfect exemplar of the monolithic conformist Eisenhower ’50s – only from a very different kind of conservatism.

In short, and only my personal, rough working hypothesis of course, Huanqiu has begun a shift away from angry articles on how to become America’s adequate adversary, to the sedate, even-handed and self-confident voice of a rising superpower.

The readership, however, may not change that easily – not if the commenter threads are anything to go by.

It may not exactly be the approach Cheng Tianquan suggests – making Chinese “citizens” participate in foreign affairs -, but at least a try to calm netizens down when it comes to diplomatic issues, as Zhao Qizheng, a public-diplomacy expert, advised earlier this year.

The following are excerpts from a Huanqiu Shibao interview with Qi Jianguo (齐建国), China’s former ambassador to Vietnam.

Main Link: Vietnam won’t become America’s “ally”, published by Huanqiu Shibao on July 26, 2012. Links within blockquote added during translation – JR

[Editor’s note]

Editor’s note: Recently, the establishment of Sansha City in the Paracel Islands was officially established. This lead to “protests” from the Philippines and Vietnam. America also expressed “concern”. The South China Sea situation once again attracted attention. Looking at the entire South China Sea dispute, people can’t help but ask themselves this question: if the Philippines become America’s ally, with American forces protecting it, thus being “able” to deal with China, couldn’t Vietnam, a country from the “socialist camp” and with intense and deep-seated hatred for the U.S. thirty years ago, do likewise?


After Vietnam and America established diplomatic relations, their relations warmed quickly during the past few years. On the South China Sea dispute, America also openly expressed support for Vietnam, and Hillary Clinton openly praised Vietnam’s reforms. One could see Vietnam and America approaching this point of “ability”. However, what is the current situation like? Could Vietnam throw itself completely into America’s arms and become America’s “ally”? Concerning Vietnam’s foreign and domestic political issues, Huanqiu Shibao’s review channel recently interviewed China’s former ambassador to Vietnam, and Asia-Pacific Research Center director Qi Jianguo. The record of the interview will be published in instalments.


[The interview]

Q: After the establishment of diplomatic relations between America and Vietnam, the relations between the two countries have become warmer. Which factors brought the two countries closer together?


A: Vietnam and America established diplomatic relations in 1995, 17 years ago. Objectively speaking, their relationship went from a mutually cool attitude to a warm one. Two examples: trade and politics. As for trade, America has lifted the trade embargo since 1994, but up until 2000, after only six years of diplomatic relations, a trade agreement was signed. That’s to say, relations wer very normal then. Politically speaking – I had become ambassador in Vietnam by then – American president Clinton visited Vietnam to promote progress in their relations, but because Clinton talked a lot about so-called democracy, human rights etc., points of view Vietnam couldn’t accept, then Vietnam CP secretary Le Kha Phieu criticized these views in their meetings with Clinton, and the meetings ended on rather bad terms. Later, America’s ambassador to Vietnam held an informal meeting. He wasn’t satisfied at all, and said that the last meeting had been “stupid”. He called secretary general Le Kha Phieu a “conservative, tough old man”. This shows that in fact, from 1995 to 2000, through all those years, the bilateral ties had been rather cold.


Only another five years later, in 2005, ten years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, Vietnam’s prime minister Phan Van Khai visited America. It was the first visit by a Vietnamese leader after the end of the Vietnam war thirty years earlier, and this marked the complete normalization of Vietnamese-American relations. In 2006, as Vietnam hosted the informal meeting of APEC leaders, American president Bush visited Vietnam. After that visit, America gave Vietnam the most-favored nation status (MFN), a status of permanent normal trading, and after that, Vietnamese-American relations moved to a stage of rapid development. Particularly during the past two years, as America accelerated the pace of its return to the Asia-Pacific region, the relations clearly warmed.


Generally speaking, the warming relations between the two countries were a matter of the past few years. It should be said that the background reason was America’s strategic adjustment. The two sides both hope to develop the relations continuously, with both sides having certain requirements [to each other], which led to the relations as they are today.


Q: What do the two countries want to get from each other? And can they obtain these things?


A: This needs to be looked at from the background of America’s strategic adjustment. What America wants to get in its shift to the East, or its return to the Asia-Pacific region, is – besides strengthening relations with allies like Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand – the strengthening of relations with “new partners”. That’s America’s new need. As for Vietnam’s relations with America, a strategic position is very important. In America’s view, Vietnam is a new partner. At present, the two sides both prepare the advancement of their relations to “strategic cooperation and partnership”, and make efforts to these ends. For America, the main issue isn’t what to get from trade, but it mainly shows in how it uses Vietnam’s important strategic position.


Vietnam wants to get a lot from America, both politically and economically. Vietnam hopes that America will gradually abandon its peaceful-evolution towards it, it hopes for support concerning the South China Sea, and of course it also hopes for economic advantages. Currently, America is Vietnam’s biggest export market, and Vietnam’s biggest foreign-trade surplus is the one with America. China has been Vietnam’s biggest trading partner for seven consecutive years, and Vietnam’s biggest trade deficit is the one with China. Vietnam’s trade surplus with the U.S. can’t make up for the deficit with China.


When it comes to what the two sides can or can’t get from each other what they hope to get, this can’t be considered all at once. This needs to be analyzed issue by issue. What can Vietnam get? It can get advanced technology from America, more investment, even American support concerning the South China Sea. As far as that’s concerned, America is already openly supportive. But it can’t get promises and assurances from America to the end that America “won’t overthrow the communist leadership, and won’t change its socialist system”.


As for America, it can use Vietnam’s strategic position to broaden its influence in South-East Asia, make it serve its strategic adjustment, but it won’t get a promise to establish its military bases there. At best, their navy will have so-called supplies from Cam Ranh Bay. I experienced something about Cam Ranh Bay myself. It was an American naval base, originally. After the Vietnam war, the Soviet Union took it over, and by 2004, the Russians had completely withdrawn, as the Vietnamese defense ministry itself officially informed me: “From now on, Cam Ranh Bay won’t be leased out to any third country, our Chinese comrade can be at ease about that.” In my view, this Vietnamese commitment has not changed. Cam Ranh Bay won’t be what some people believe it could be – there’s no way that, in the wake of the warming ties, the U.S. navy would use Cam Ranh Bay the way they used it in the past.


[Further remarks on two further questions: U.S.-Vietnamese ties will remain close for the foreseeable future, but ideologically, there is no difference between the way America views China and Vietnam respectively.]

Q: There are views that America wants to use the South-China-Sea dispute and the resulting warming relations with Vietnam to change [“evolutionize”, 演变] Vietnam – that it wants to achieve what they didn’t achieve with the Vietnam war. How do you view this?


A: I can’t really agree with this view, because the relations and the ideologies between the two countries are different in character: one is about the way the two countries’ relations would develop further, and one is about another country’s nature. The latter issue, for the Vietnamese CP, is one of life and death. Generally speaking, these to issues are different in that one is about benefit, and one is about life and death. Even if America should have these ideas, to achieve peaceful evolution by supporting Vietnam in the South China Sea dispute, it will find it hard to achieve.


I believe that the ideological influence on both countries is big, and fundamental. To use an example from my time as ambassador to Vietnam: after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and America, the period when America wanted to achieve evolution, relations became cold. During the first years of the 21rst century, America supported independence for Vietnam’s four western provinces by preaching the gospel of freedom etc. Several thousand people came to the provincial parliaments for so-called establishment of national parliaments. This resulted in bloodshed and were then suppressed. It is said that America had supported those people financially. […]


Neither will, for a long time to come, America give up its plans to change Vietnam’s socialist system, nor will Vietnam give up [or in, to these American plans]. Ideological differences remain the biggest restricting obstacle in the two countries’ relations.


[Further remarks: the shadows of the Vietnam War keep lingering, even if “hate-America” feelings in Vietnam aren’t particularly strong (在今天的越南,“仇美”的社会情绪应该说有,但不是特别的强烈。). Vietnam attaches importance to developing ties with big countries in general, among “three priorities, since the beginning of the century: ties with neighboring countries, ties with traditionally friendly countries, and with big countries – 三个“优先发展”:优先发展同邻国的关系、优先发展同传统友好国家的关系、优先发展同大国的关系 – Vietnamese-U.S. ties would continue to warm as the America made its return to the Asia-Pacific region.]

Q: How much potential is there in Vietnam-U.S. economic relations? How much benefit can America provide for Vietnam?


A: I believe there’s great potential with broad perspectives. Two examples: one big obstacle in Vietnamese-American trade was removed in 1994, the trade embargo. After that, the trade cooperation went through three stages. From 1994 to July 2001, it was the first stage. Then, after the removal of the embargo, the two countries signed their bilateral trade agreement, that was the second stage, from July 2001 to May 2006. Then the two countries signed an agreement for Vietnam’s accession to the WTO, which meant permanent normalization of Vietnam’s position as a trading partner. From 2006 to now, with most-favored-nation status for Vietnam, their trade cooperation entered the phase of quick development.

我认为,越美的经济合作潜力巨大,前景广阔 with broad perspectives。我举两个例子:一个是越美开展经济往来的障碍彻底消除了,1994年美国取消对越南的贸易禁令 Embargo 以后,两国的经贸合作关系经历了3个阶段:1994年到2001年7月份,这是第一个阶段,从取消贸易禁令到越美两国签订“双边贸易协定”;2001年7月到2006年5月,是第二个阶段,越美签了越南入世的协定,这意味着美国已经给了永久的“正常贸易关系地位”;2006年到现在,是第三个阶段,美国给了它最惠国待遇之后,越美经贸合作进入快速发展时期。

Also, Vietnam’s and America’s economies are highly complementary to each other. Goods Vietnam imports from the U.S., like planes, machinery and electronic products, chemical fertilizers, cotton, etc., and exports of textiles, clothing, footwear, frozen shrimps and petroleum products, that’s highly complementary. From 2000, when the bilateral trade agreement was signed, to 2005, within those five years, their trade went up from 1.4 billion to 7.6 billion dollars, of which 6.5 billion came from Vietnamese exports to America. As soon as in 2005, Vietnam’s trade surplus with America reached 5.4 billion US dollars.


In 2011, Vietnam-U.S. trade exceeded twenty billion dollars, and Vietnam’s trade surplus with America was biggest, ten billion dollars. Besides, there is foreign direct investment from America, at least twelve billion U.S. dollars. Therefore, America isn’t only Vietnam’s biggest export market, but also one of its biggest investors.


Interview conducted and edited by Wang Jingtao (王京涛).



» Only a Great Importer is a Great Power, May 17, 2012


Friday, July 27, 2012

Regent Street Flag Incident: Taiwanese Press Review

CNA [July 27]

[Reacting to] the pushed removal of the Republic of China’s flag at London’s Regent Street, former ROC Vice President Vincent Siew said that if cross-strait relations should continue to relax and improve, Taiwan needed to be treated reasonably within the international community, and not be unjustifiably suppressed.



Siew told this CNA reporter in London that he only learned about this matter after he landed in London on Wednesday. Cross-strait relations had relaxed and improved over the past few years. If this should be further implemented, Taiwan should not be unjustifiably suppressed in the international community. Compatriots expected a display of good intentions.


He said that the British media had covered the issue broadly, and hoped that the British people and the international community would attach importanc to and understand the feelings of the Taiwanese about the change of the flag. The straightforward way Taiwan’s representative in Britain, Shen Lyushun, had handled the issue also deserved praise.



CNA / Radio Taiwan International (RTI) [July 27]


Vincent Siew and his wife are attending today’s opening ceremony at the invitation of Acer company, one of the sponsors of the game, and will also watch competitions and visit sporting venues during their stay.


UDN[July 28]

Concerning the Republic of China flag which was removed at Regent Street, people at home and abroad have started patriotic flag movements, and president Ma instructed the foreign ministry to explore the issue. Foreign-ministry spokesperson Hsia Chi-chang [Steve Hsia] said that this [the removal of the flag] was the spontaneous decision of the [Regent Street] business people. The foreign ministry would continue to communicate and explain, and strive for the flag to be put back, and also to be flown at other appropriate places in London.


Concerning the photos of the flag in Regent Street, compatriots and tourists had taken photos during the past days, and started a patriotic movement. Presidential spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that president Ma was touched. Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that the flag’s removal by business people in London and the entire issue’s situation weren’t clear yet. President Ma had instructed the foreign ministry to explore, and if it was confirmed that the issue was related to pressure from mainland China, this would be no helpful development, and our side would express its serious and principled position to mainland China.


Fan Chiang Tai-chi said that in recent years, cross-strait relations had gradually relaxed, and [the presidential office] had promoted “flexible diplomacy” which had opened windows of opportunity and led to some concrete effects which hadn’t been feasible before. However, the problems of previous decades could not be solved overnight, and the future would continue to hold many problems that needed to be overcome. This was precisely why the [presidential] office would continue to exert efforts on broadening [Taiwan’s] international space.


CNA (English) —[July 27]

[…] Meanwhile, former opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said on her Facebook page that she hopes the Taiwan government would be more proactive in its handling of the matter so China would learn the importance of mutual respect.

If China continues to alienate and humiliate the Taiwanese people, no one will benefit from a buildup of negative emotions, she said.



» ROC Flag removed, July 24, 2012


Friday, July 27, 2012

London Olympics: the, umm, correct flag …

If there is something remarkable about the Taiwanese / Republic of China flag in Regent Street, and the way it was removed, it’s that all kinds of stakeholders were discussing it – except those who, allegedly, reportedly, took offense, i. e. the Chinese embassy in London. According to AFP, the Chinese embassy did not respond to repeated requests to comment.

It’s probably a wise move that the Taiwanese president – if at all – wants the issue to be raised with China, rather than with Britain. Let the Chinese antagonize at least some in the European public, and don’t antagonize the European public against Taiwan – by calling us out on our servile efforts to please Beijing, for example. That would make us very angry, wouldn’t it?

But as Europeans, and among ourselves, we should look at the incident, feel ashamed, and try to improve.

What strikes me about as much our embarrassment to see a free country’s flag in a highstreet is an apparent online trend to react to symbolic incidents, rather than to real trends. I mean, this blog had only seen modest traffic since early summer. It’s the same every year; once summer has arrived on the northern half of the globe, clicks go down.

But once I had posted about the flag removal on Regent Street on Tuesday, traffic skyrocketed.

Not entirely surprisingly though – after all, there wasn’t much coverage during the first one or two days, except by the BBC‘s Mandarin service. But the way the internet public gets excited – or bored – also suggests that the global village isn’t really interested in politics, not even where it ostensibly talks politics most of the time.

Among a European public, the story doesn’t sell. Stories like these tell us more about our moral weaknesses than we want to hear.

A guy called Mitt Romney” who apparently managed to hurt the feelings of some, many, or no Londoners seemed to matter much more.

The BBC‘s English website does mention the Chinese “intervention”, however, even if only as a footnote here:

London 2012 organisers said the business association behind the display decided to put up the “correct flag… the one used for Olympic Games”.

But they could have decided to keep the actual flag up there, too.

Or couldn’t they? Maybe the answer to the question follows one paragraph further down:

A global investment conference in London kicked off a series of business summits intended to showcase the UK …

That’s where the symbolism ends, and real life begins. If you believe that the Olympic Games are about sports, think again.



» The Sporting Spirit,, accessed July 27, 2012


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Taiwan’s Flag: “This is a Matter for the Regent Street Association”

Chinese officials are believed to have raised concerns over the use of Taiwan’s flag at the Regent Street Association’s display.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We contacted the RSA (Regent Street Association) and suggested they might want to talk to LOCOG regarding the flag under which Taiwan participates in the Olympics. With all parties we have been clear that this is a matter for the RSA.”

London Evening Standard, July 26, 2012

The tale of how we came to be called “Chinese Taipei” is worth repeating. Taiwan withdrew from the United Nations in 1971 after the world body recognized the communist People’s Republic of China. Soon after, the ROC on Taiwan began to be squeezed out of other international organizations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) informed Taiwan that it could no longer participate as the Republic of China.

The IOC suggested some alternative titles including “China, Taipei,” “Taiwan” and even “Formosa.” At the time, China was still quite weak on the world stage and incapable of resisting the IOC’s name ideas. In fact, China back then would have been quite pleased to have Taiwan compete as “Taiwan,” as the name would have indicated that Taiwan had rescinded its claim to the whole of China. Taiwan’s leaders of the time, however, could not accept any of the three name ideas as all three were politically inaccurate, as far as they were concerned.

The China Post, August 12, 2008



» ROC Flag removed, July 24, 2012


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