Posts tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Friday, July 27, 2018

Trade War: “American Farmers whine about Hardships”

When Russia stopped the import of agricultural products from the EU in late summer of 2014, reacting to the West’s sanctions against the Russian economy in the wake of the annexation of Crimea, the EU pledged 125 million Euros to support the affected farmers. European agricultural exports to Russia had been worth about 11.8 billion euros last year, or roughly $15.7 billion, the New York Times quoted Eurostat at the time, or ten percent of European agricultural trade.

On Tuesday this week, Donald Trump announced a plan that would provide US farmers with $12 billion, to lighten the effects of tarriffs imposed by China and the European Union, in retaliation to earlier US tarriff hikes. Politico quoted US agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue as saying that the $12 bn would be a match for “roughly $11 billion in negative effects that USDA has calculated agricultural producers have suffered as a result of “illegal” retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and other major economies.” Apart from direct payments to farmers, a purchasing program and support for farmers looking out for new markets are reportedly part of the plan.

Politico also quotes Republican lawmakers – and farmers – as criticising the program, and demanding an end to the trade war. However, an NBC correspondent points out that the Trump administration’s support programs makes sense for Republican Congress people who would otherwise face “the treacherous choice of letting farmers suffer or criticizing a president who is immensely popular among their constituents.”

Guanchazhe , a paper from Shanghai, posted a report on its website today, recalling that

In spite of opposing voices at home, the Trump administration added 25 percent to import tarriffs on Chinese goods at a value of $34 billion*), from the beginning of July. In reaction, China imposed 25 percent of import tarriffs on the same scale of American products, including American agricultural products.

不顾国内反对声音,特朗普政府于本月初对价值340亿美元的中国商品加征25%的进口关税。作为反击,中国于同日对同等规模的美国产品加征25%的进口关税,美国农产品被列入征税清单。

Guanchazhe suggests that

Trump appears to have recognized that it is exactly the trade clash provoked by him that has shocked the farmers. According to earlier Guanchazhe Network reports, on July 24 local time, the American agriculture secretary announced the biggest emergency assistance plan for farmers since 1998, with a total of $12 billion, to help the farmers to avoid losses.

特朗普似乎意识到了正是自己挑起的贸易冲突,使得农民受到冲击。据观察者网此前报道,当地时间24日,美国农业部公布了一项1998年以来规模最大的农业紧急援助计划,金额为120亿美元,以帮助农民免受损失。

Guanchazhe then quotes Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang as saying that China was a major buyer of American agricultural goods: “For many years, Sino-American agricultural cooperation has continuously broadened, it has deepened by the day, with honest mutual benefits. One should say that it is mutually beneficial and mutually profitable” (多年来,中美农业合作不断扩大,日益深化,给双方带来了实实在在的利益,应该说是互利共赢的). Currently however, it was America that was “adopting unilateralism and trade protectionism, going back on its words (言而无信) and contradicting itself (出尔反尔), insistently provoking a trade war against China.” Geng is also quoted as saying that the American farmers were “paying the bill for the American government’s bullying.”

Trump provokes a trade clash with one hand, the article says, and

as other countries are forced to strike back, he now wants to placate the farmers with an emergency assistance plan, plus peddling words on social media about how he likes and values the farmers and about attacking China – will American farmers buy this?

现在想通过紧急援助来安抚美国农民,另一边又在社交媒体上兜售对农民“爱与尊重”的说辞,攻击中国,美国农民会买账吗?

The article quotes two farmers by name, both of them with rather balances statements that emphasize the need for long-term solutions and maintaining their market positions, but without criticizing Trump.

All the same, the two measured statements are lumped together with Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse‘s criticism that the assistance program was about “gold crutches”. The article then moves on to July 25:

According to Reuters, on July 25 local time, Trump met Congress members from agricultural states to discuss trade issues. House agricultural committee chairman Mike Conaway thanked the government for the assistant measures, and lauded the agreement Trump had reached with visiting EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker earlier that day to eliminate trade barriers.

据路透社报道,当地时间25日,特朗普会见了农业州国会议员,共商贸易课题。众议院农业委员会主席科纳韦(Mike Conaway)感谢政府为农民推出的援助措施,并赞许特朗普当天较早前接见到访的欧盟委员会主席容克时,与对方达成协议,争取消除贸易壁垒。

Conaway issued a statement saying that “I’m thanking the President and Secretary Perdue for supporting our farmers and ranchers.”

科纳韦发布声明说:“我感谢总统和珀杜(农业)部长给予我们的农民和牧场主的支持。”

However, Lisa Murkowski, Republican senator for Alaska, tweeted that Trump needed “to recognize that trade assistance can’t replace actual trade.”

不过,阿拉斯加州共和党参议员穆尔科斯基(Lisa Murkowski)在推特发文呼吁特朗普,“认清贸易援助是无法取代贸易本身”。

While the article avoids strong language, the editorial department apparently chose to create more appealing impressions: American farmers whine about hardships, Trump falsely accuses China of ‘malignance’ (贸易战美国农民叫苦 特朗普反诬中国“恶毒”).

According to English-language reports, Trump referred to China’s tarriffs on US agricultural goods as “vicious”, and according to a report by Reuters on Wednesday, Murkowski urged Trump on Twitter to “recognize that trade assistance is no substitute for trade itself.”

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Notes

*) In other reports at the time, trade volumes of $50 billion were mentioned

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Related

FMPRC Regular Press Conference, July 26, 2018
外交部例行记者会, FMPRC, July 26, 2018
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Donald Trump’s Quiztalks

When Donald Trump speaks without a script, it sounds like BBC Radio 4 entertainment – the I’m-sorry-I-haven’t-a-clue style, where people are supposed to talk without repeating a single word, or without mentioning a specific world. Something like …

Host: Mr. President, you are supposed to speak about clocks for sixty seconds, and you must use the word “clock” only once.
Trump: I don’t mind clocks. I like those things. I actually love them. We have a great relationship. The only problem with clocks is …
Detector: BUZZ!!!


Anyway. Why is the president supposed to participate in a game where winning is not important? That’s preposterous.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Inside Report: the Singapore Summit

 

A very special moment …

 

and the very last moment …

… for world peace.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

“Black-Hearted Intentions”: Tillerson’s Replacement may send Signal to Pyongyang

The press keeps raging: the White House is referred to as a “Tollhaus” by Sächsische Zeitung, which criticizes both the way the incumbent secretary of state was fired, and Trumps choice of a successor:

.. a man like Pompeo, who defends Guantanamo and the exercise of torture, doesn’t stand for a moderate style in foreign policy, not to mention diplomacy with reason and a sense of proportions.

“US diplomacy in turmoil”, judges the Independent.

And Süddeutsche Zeitung quotes Rex Tillerson himself: “US leadership starts with diplomacy.”

KBS Seoul‘s German service’s news bulletin of Wednesday mentioned that Tillerson had always called for unconditional talks with North Korea, thus positioning himself against Trump. Tillerson’s successor, Mike Pompeo, was considered a hardliner, the news bulletin said.

The offer from North Korea to have talks with a simultaneous freeze on North Korean nuclear and missile tests, and with no demand for a freeze on US-South Korean military exercises, will have boosted Donald Trump’s ego.

Radio Austria’s (Radio Österreich International / ORF) Washington correspondent, interviewed in the station’s morning magazine on Wednesday, thought it possible that there would be less contradictions between the White House and the State Department in future, and added that according to Trump himself, firing Tillerson and imposing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports had surprised even his closest advisors:

After a bit over a year in office, Trump apparently feels more and more secure, and he seems to manage the White House quite the same way he used to manage his real estate companies in the past.

Nach etwas mehr als einem Jahr im Amt fühlt sich Trump offenbar immer sicherer, und er scheint das Weiße Haus so ähnlich zu führen wie früher seine Immobilienunternehmen.

Success is usually a good thing. It can be the medicine that encourages a public to support good policies. But it can also encourage leaders with a tendency to overestimating themselves.

While President Trump is giving the public the appearance of a man who looks forward to “making a deal” with the North Korean regime, the regime in question still seems to be wondering what the coming months will hold. Or maybe they are wondering which mistake they have made, given that Trump accepted their offer right away.

North Korean KCNA‘s websites – in Korean and English – haven’t updated the “Supreme Leader’s Activities” since March 6 (when Kim Jong-un hosted a dinner for the special South Korean delegation that subsequently relayed his offer to the US), and the “top news” contain no reference to an impending bilateral summit either.

Rather, the US is “Blasted for Ratcheting Up Sanctions and Pressure on DPRK”. When Washington is mentioned at all, it is business as usual in Pyongyang’s propaganda. KCNA quoting Minju Joson:

Pyongyang, March 14 (KCNA) — The U.S. recently announced that it would impose sanctions on 56 designations in total – 27 shipping and trading companies, 28 vessels and 1 individual – of the DPRK and other countries under the pretext of preventing its “attempt to evade the sanctions” and intercepting the illegal means to help the transactions in the open sea.

Commenting on the fact, Minju Joson Wednesday says that it shows how desperately the U.S. is working to ratchet up the sanctions and pressure on the DPRK and suffocate it.

The U.S. recent announcement is not merely a continuation of such anti-DPRK sanction and pressure racket, the paper notes, and goes on:

The U.S. seeks to realize a cynical ploy to bring back the situation to a phase of tension by escalating the sanctions and pressure on the DPRK.

It has so far justified the hegemonic policy towards the Asia-Pacific region under the pretext of mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula. So, it is seeking to stem the détente on the peninsula, getting the jitters about it.

The U.S. recent announcement of additional sanctions is nothing but a red herring aimed at tarnishing the international image of the DPRK and diverting the attention of the international community welcoming the détente on the peninsula.

It is the U.S. black-hearted intention to create a phase of confrontation on the peninsula by rattling the nerves of the DPRK and plugging more countries into the sanctions racket.

Such sanctions can never be justified as they are illegal and unethical. -0-

With acclaim and great expectations or not, the press appears to expect the Trump-Kim meeting to happen.

But the negotiations have been on and off for decades. Firing Tillerson and appointing Pompeo has sent a signal to Pyongyang, too. Maybe the North Korean leaders have already gotten the jitters.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Huanqiu Shibao: Chinese Interests won’t be sidelined on Korean Peninsula

Huanqiu Shibao carried an unsigned editorial on Friday, reacting to an apparent rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang. It’s reasoning reflects what Duowei News portrayed as Huanqiu’s editor-in-chief’s notion of Sino-North Korean relations, in December last year.

The author of the article translated underneath doesn’t seem to doubt that Pyongyang genuinely pursues a policy of denuclearization.

Main Link: How China should act in the light of dramatic changes on [Korean] peninsula

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

The situation on the Korean peninsula has seen another dramatic change. Having been to North Korea and in Washington right after that to report, the head of the Blue House national security office, Chung Eui-Yong, announced in Washington that North Korea’s top leader Kim Jong-un had invited invited Donald Trump to a meeting, and the American side immediately said that President Trump had accepted the invitation.

朝鲜半岛局势又出现新的爆炸性突破。几天之内访问了朝鲜、接着又去华盛顿通报的青瓦台国家安保室室长郑义溶在华盛顿宣布,朝鲜最高领导人金正恩邀请特朗普总统会面,美方随即表示,特朗普总统已经接受邀请。

The American side said that time and location of the meeting were yet to be determined. However, South Korea said that the meeting should be conducted before the end of May this year. Trump especially emphasized that South Korea had told him that not only had Kim Jong-un mentioned a freeze on nuclear activities, but also denuclearization. A sitting US president has never met a North Korean leader before. No matter what, a breakthrough like this deserves to be welcomed, and China should be happy for it.

美方表示,会面的时间地点待定。不过韩方称,会晤将在今年5月底前举行。特朗普特意强调,韩方告诉他,金正恩说到的不仅仅是冻结核活动,而是无核化。美国现任总统从未与朝鲜领导人会晤过,这一突破无论如何都值得欢迎,中国应当为之高兴。

In the face of the continuous dramatic changes on the peninsula, both Chinese people and foreigners are watching China’s actions with interest.

面对半岛局势不断出现的戏剧性变化,中国该如何做,国人很关心,世界也很关注。

First of all, the Chinese should maintain a calm attitude and remain focused. There should be no sense of “being sidelined”, and it is not the right perspective from where to look at the issue.

首先,中国人应放平心态,保持定力,不应有“中国被边缘化”的想法,跳出那样看问题的角度。

We should keep in mind what China’s main goal on the peninsula is, i. e. denuclearization and peace and stability. These two major points matter more than China and the gains and losses in its bilateral relations between the North and the South respectively, or the effect of such gains and losses in the contest of big powers. This is because China’s Northeast is close to North Korea, and North Korea’s nuclear activities and the stirring acrtivities on the peninsula are posing a potential threat to China.

我们应当牢记中国在半岛最重要的目标是什么,它们是半岛的无核化及和平稳定,这两点的重要性要高于中国与半岛南北两方双边关系的得失以及这种得失对大国博弈的影响。原因就是中国东北紧挨着朝鲜,朝鲜的核活动以及半岛的动荡都对中国东北构成潜在威胁。

China can’t compare match America. Firstly, America is far from the Korean peninsula, with corresponding room to maneuver. Secondly, US-South Korean relations are those of alies, and its ability to control South Korea is a legacy of its role of an experienced superpower.

中国不能和美国比,第一美国远离朝鲜半岛,因此进退都更有空间。第二,美国与韩国是盟友关系,美对韩国的操纵能力是它作为老牌超级大国的遗产。

China’s influence on North Korea didn’t continue after resisting the US and helping North Korea. We haven’d stationed troops in North Korea. The Chinese People’s Volunteers delegates also left Panmunjom in the mid-1990s. Chinese-North Korean relations soon became normal bilateral relations,with only certain remaining ideological bonds. The relations between the two countries also mainly amount to mutually beneficial cooperation, and it is many peoples’ misunderstanding that there were great amounts of Chinese gratuitous help to North Korea.

中国对朝鲜的影响在抗美援朝之后中断了,我们在朝鲜既无驻军,志愿军谈判代表也在上世纪90年代离开了板门店。中朝早就是正常国家关系,只剩下一定的意识形态纽带。两国经济关系也主要是平等互利的合作,中国大量无偿援助朝鲜是很多人的误解。

The influence that China does exercise on the peninsula is based on our country’s increasing strength, and its geopolitical position. The appearance of being able to decide international sanctions is also a key element in its ability to influence the situation on the peninsula. But China is no leader in finding a solution to the situation on the peninsula, and nor do we have the leverage to change the attitude of any of the parties on our own.

中国今天对半岛的影响力是基于我们国家实力的增强和地缘位置,中国有决定国际制裁面貌的能力,也是影响半岛局势的关键一方。但中国不是如何解决半岛问题的领导者,我们也没有能够单独撬动某一方态度的杠杆。

All the same, China’s exercise of power has played a role. The direction the situation on the peninsula is taking now is precisely what China has promoted. Firstly, the “double-moratorium” proposed by China has at last appeared. The “two-track merger” is also beginning to take shape. During these two years, China both participated in the sanctions policy against the DPRK, led by the United Nations, and China also prevented extreme measures such as sea blockades, that could have led to military conflict, and has made preparation for the aftermath of a possible hot conflict.

然而中国的发力产生了作用,半岛局势今天的走向恰恰与中国推动的方向相一致。首先,中国提出的“双暂停”终于出现了,中国主张的“双轨并进”也开始形成态势。这两年中国一方面参与了联合国主导的对朝国际制裁,一方面阻止了对朝海上封锁等可能导致军事冲突的极端措施,为朝美激烈冲突之后局势峰回路转预留了可能性。

As a big country, China has no reason to worry that North Korea could turn to a so-called “reliance on American help”. There can’t be any country on China’s boundaries that could completely “rely on American help”. China has actively advocated direct US-North Korean dialog on the nuclear issue, and seeing the two sides breaking the deadlock and talking directly, we should support this improvement all the more. If Kim and Trump can help to denuclearize the peninsula and make it peaceful and stable, this achieves China’s two big goals, and why should we not be happy about that?

作为大国,中国完全不必担心朝鲜会所谓的“投靠美国”,中国周边不可能有任何一个国家是完 全“投靠美国”的。中国从朝核问题一开始就积极推动美朝直接对话,在事实证明美朝直接对话是打破僵局绕不开的途径时,我们就更应该支持局势的这一进展了。 如果金特会有助于通向半岛无核化及和平稳定这两大中国最期待的目标,我们有什么理由为此而不高兴呢?

Chinese-North Korean relations are currently at a low ebb, but the real reason for that is the nuclear issue, not some historical or cultural reasons, a s some people like to exaggerate, or because of the North Korean leader’s personality. Once the North Korean nuclear issue can be alleviated, Chinese-North Korean may rather easily be improved.

目前中朝关系处在低潮,根本原因是核问题,而非一些人夸张的历史文化原因或者朝鲜领导人个性的影响。只要朝核问题能够缓解,中朝改善关系就会变得比较容易。

xBecause of modern technological development and because of changes in the international situation, North Korea’s significance as China’s geopolitical protective screen may decrease. Future good Chinese-North Korean relations will be more important for North Korea, than for China. China should calmly support US-North Korean contacts, and look favorably at the Kim-Trump meeting. At the same time, we should also actively react to sudden changes in the situation, improve relations with North Korea, and support the stabilization of a good development.

由于现代科技的发展和国际形势的变化,朝鲜作为中国地缘政治屏障的意义已大为下降,未来良好的中朝关系对朝鲜的意义比对中国来说更为重要。中国应当坦然支持美朝接触,对金特会乐见其成。同时我们也应积极回应局势的急遽变化,改善与朝鲜的关系。

We should respect North Korea. We should both continue to protect the UN security council’s decision-making authority, and help protect North Korea’s legitimate rights and interests*), as talks on conditions for denuclearization between Pyongyang and Washington get underway. North Korea, once starting the process of denuclearization, China must be a advocate and defender of international guarantee systems which make sure that [North Korea] won’t be cheated by America, and that it won’t continue to be pressured by America.

我们应当尊重朝鲜,一方面我们要继续维护安理会决议的权威,一方面要在平壤与华盛顿就无核化条件开展谈判时,帮助维护朝鲜的正当权益,继续做局势的平衡者。朝鲜一旦开始无核化进程,中国有必要做确保其不被美方欺骗、不继续受美国挤压等国际保障体系的坚决推动和维护者。中国的平衡作用有利于半岛局势的最终软着陆。

As the situation on the peninsula is about to ease, many uncertainties are still lying ahead. China must maintain its focus and stick to principles. It must not allow dazzling situations  to disturb our train of thought. We can’t see short-term gains, and even less should we worry about gains and losses. We should welcome US-North Korean talks to solve the nuclear issue, and in the denuclearization process, we should be [North Korea’s] strong supporter in their defense of their interests. If this is how China consistently continues, our interests will certainly not be sidelined.

半岛局势缓和刚开了个头,前方还有大量可能的变数。中国需保持定力,坚持原则,不让眼花缭乱的事态变化扰乱我们的思路。我们不能急功近利,更不应患得患失。欢迎美朝谈判解决核问题,在朝鲜无核化的过程中做它保护自身利益强有力的支持者,中国就这样一以贯之地做下去,我们自身的利益也一定不会被挤向边缘。

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Notes

*) When first published online on Friday, the article used the term 合法权益 (which seems to amount to “legitimate”, too, though maybe somewhat less expressively).
x

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Blog and Press Review: Frugal New Year

Warning: the following translation from a classic is just my guesswork – if you copy that for your homework, the mistakes will be your fault, not mine. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Frugal New Year: the Xi Style

The year of the dog is upon us, and it must be a dog’s life if you are a cadre in the Xi Jinping era. That’s what you might believe, anyway, if you read secretary general Xi Jinping’s spiritual nourishment for comrades. After all, in a totalitarian society, administration, legislation, crackdowns and Something Understood all need to come from the same source.

People’s Daily has published three instalments of Xi Jinping thought. The first: go and visit the poor, and ask about their suffering, find solutions to the problems and dump the worries. The second: have an affectionate reunion with your family, as a good family style promotes virtue.

For the third instalment, the sermon turns to the New Book of Tang:
奢靡之始,危亡之渐 (which means something like “what begins lavishly will move towards danger”, I suppose).

I can only find the Chinese original [no English edition] of the  New Book of Tang online, and there, in chapter 105, Chu Suiliang, an advisor with morals, tells his surprised sovereign the meaning of things that only appear to be innocent at first glance:

帝尝怪:“舜造漆器,禹雕其俎,谏者十馀不止,小物何必尔邪?”遂良曰:“雕琢害力农,纂绣伤女工,奢靡之始,危亡之渐也。漆器不止,必金为之,金又不止,必玉为之,故谏者救其源,不使得开。及夫横流,则无复事矣。”帝咨美之。

The emperor said: “Shun made the lacquer, Yu gave us the embroideries, but the remonstrances never seem to end. How can small things be evil?”
Suiliang said: “ornate artwork harms the peasantry, and embroidery hurts the working women. What begins lavishly, will indeed move towards danger. It doesn’t end at lacquerware, it takes gold, too. It doesn’t end there, but jade will be required, too. Those who remonstrate do not want to see things pass the point of no return.”

If my impression of the Chinese texts is basically correct, Xi seems to present himself as someone who speaks truth to power – which is corny at best, and quite probably populist. The latter, anyway, is a tool lavishly handed around among the Davos jetset more recently, and it probably works fine, especially at the grass-roots level, with people who routinely delude themselves.

Roar back, if you still dare, fly or tiger.

Xi Jinping probably found a lot to copy from Ronald Reagan. His May 4 speech in 2013 resembled Reagan’s endless-opportunities speech in 1984. While frequently considered risk averse when it comes to reform, optimism, a “determination … to educate his audience” and “unobtrusive and imperceptible moral influence” (OK – it depends on how much corniness you’ve grown up with) are features Xi’s propaganda style seems to share with the late US president’s.

Footnote: when it comes to education on the ground, education of the public appears to be anything but imperceptible, as The Capital in the North reported in January.

Central Europe (1): After the “Czech Reversal”

The China Digital Times has an article by a Czech academic, describing Chinese influence in Eastern Europe (although the Czech Republic is hardly “eastern” European), and more particularly about a “China Energy Fund Committee” (CEFC). Czech president Miloš Zeman, who is quoted there with some of his characteristically tasteless remarks (about Chinese eyes, before he changed his mind), has explicit opinions about journalism, too.

Central Europe (2): German Mittelstand’s Main Thing

If the German Mittelstand can’t be found in China, it’s probably because they are investing and selling in the Visegrád countries, and beyond. the Handelsblatt‘s English-language edition has a critical assessment of Mittelstand companies role in Central Europe, quoting an apolitical German trade functionary to prove its point:

Ultimately, politics is not that important for businesspeople. Order books are full: That’s the main thing.

Obviously, German politicians (and journalists, for that matter) aren’t nearly as sanguine, and following US President Trump’s attendence at a Three Seas Initiative summit in July 2017, the Economist even recorded Teutonic tremors:

Germany is already concerned about China’s “16+1” initiative with central and eastern European states, a series of investment projects that the Chinese expect will build influence in the region. The Germans are also putting pressure on the Polish government over its illiberal attacks on independent newspapers, judges and NGOs. And they are fending off Polish criticisms that their proposed “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will make Europe more dependent on Russia.

But the Mittelstand shows no such unease. In fact, smaller and medium-sized companies often feel easier about countries that are closer to Germany, both regionally and culturally – it takes less time to travel, less time spent abroad, less worries about intercultural competence (or its absence), and less worries about market barriers or technology theft.

Hualien, Taiwan

Most people will have heard and read about the earthquake that caused deaths and injuries, especially in Hualien, on Tuesday.

But the place should be known for its beauty, too. There’s a travel blog about the Taroko Gorge, apparently written by a Singaporean, with some practical advice which  should be quite up to date (based on a visit in November 2016). That, plus some history.

The Spy Radio that anyone can hear

No, that’s not the BBC. They’ve only produced a video about numbers stations.

But what’s the fun in them if anyone can listen? I want some numbers of my own.

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Related

Budapest Guidelines, in Chinese and in English, Nov 2017

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Headlines 2017 (1) – Five Economic Policies

Having addressed one of next year’s headlines, these are some rough notes on China’s economic policies, i. e. this years headlines.

china.org.cn, a website operating “under the auspices of the State Council Information Office” and the China International Publishing Group, tells the world (in English) that

[t]he Chinese economy will focus on quality, a shift from the rapid growth the country has been known for over the past decades since the reform and opening up policy was introduced.

Referring to the Central Economic Work Conference’s summary, the article is mostly about parading the new normal personality cult (“Xi’s economic thought takes shape”), suggesting that

China will develop into a manufacturing powerhouse, with a shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China,” the statement said, as the country is striving to evolve from a world factory that churns out low-end products.

A Chinese-language article, published by Xinhua newsagency in Chinese one day earlier (on Wednesday, when the conference closed), is much more detailed, putting the meeting of officials and economists into the context of the CCP’s 19th national congress, and the current 13th Five-Year plan, with recurrent references to the five policies (五大政策).

In the Journal of Nanjing University’s (南京大学学报) third quarterly in summer this year, economics professor Hu Angang (and a doctoral assistant) suggested that the five policies (literally: five big policies) had afforded China the global number-one position as a high-tech industrial country, having overtaken America in 2015. The state’s visible hand had made this possible, Hu argued, adding that given that the market’s “invisible hand” wasn’t as well developed in China as it was in the US, only a sensible combination of both those hands had put China in its new position. Issues such as ways to define the scopes and goals of competition, as well as performance assessments, were also addressed both by Hu’s paper, and by the central economic work conference.

Hu suggests that there were frequent imbalances in classical economic policies, not least America’s (emphasizing innovation sometimes, or emphasizing job creation at others), while China had struck a balance between an industrial policy (产业政策 政策, the policy China started with 30 years ago), a competition policy (竞争政策), an innovation policy (创新政策), a policy of opening up (开放政策), and a “green” environment-protection policy (绿色政策).

One can’t say that the divide between advocates of a set of “balanced” policies are running right through the Pacific (i. e. between Beijing and Washington). America, too, has its share of advocates for balanced industrial policies. An example for an extremely unbalanced concept: the idea that “America should innovate” while China would manufacture was suggested in 2011, by  New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who said that he owed this division-of-labor concept to former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. (Besides innovation, Tung also had the “green policy” on his mind. What Friedman had in mind, God knows.)

Either way, Ralph E. Gomory, an applied mathematician, pointed out that Friedman’s and Tung’s math didn’t add up:

[w]e need successful industries and we need to innovate within them to keep them thriving. However, when your trading partner is thinking about GDP rather than profit, and has adopted mercantilist tactics, subsidizing industries, and mispricing its currency, while loaning you the money to buy the underpriced goods, this may simply not be possible.

That was six and a half years ago. And obviously, China’s leadership never intended to leave innovation to America for good.

However, Hu Angang’s paper concedes that so far, while being the world’s “number one high tech manufacturing country” (为世界最大高技术产业国), China’s ability to innovate independently from foreign know-how still remains “relatively low”.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Dalai Lama and Barack Obama meeting in New Delhi

Heads of state and government (apparently) can’t always afford to be polite – not if this CS Monitor report of nearly eight years ago is something to go by. In February 2010, the Dalai Lama, as he left the White House after a meeting with then president Barack Obama, was reportedly “awaited” by “a mound of trash”. A White House spokesman contested the interpretation – see same CS Monitor page.

But there were other downgradings, too, at the time. Obama met Tibet’s spiritual leader in the “map room” of the White House, not in the Oval Office. An ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) reporter interpreted this – most probably accurately – as a concession to China, which had demanded that the meeting not even go ahead.

Aller, Nov 2017

But a wise man who works to better the lot of the People won’t fear the height of a mountain or the width of a river on his way to gain worldly credit.

It will be left to reason here if Donald Trump is too high a mountain, or if meeting him, just like having met all US presidents from George H. W. Bush to Barack Obama while they were in office, wouldn’t benefit Tibet anyway.

There has been another meeting between the Dalai Lama and Barack Obama last Friday, and when you are travelling on behalf of your foundation that carries your name, meetings with the man Beijing loves to hate appear to make sense. The setting in New Delhi appears to have been nicer, too, than in the White House, in 2010.

The meeting apparently hasn’t generated a splash in the Chinese media. Overseas Chinese Website Duowei News, a news website operated from New York (and blocked in China, according to Wikipedia) points out that just before, Obama had completed a China visit, including a Meeting with Xi Jinping at Diaoyutai Guest House. Xinhua newsagency reported on Thursday that Xi and Obama held talks on November 29.

Duowei also adds some statistics, saying that this was the sixth meeting between the Dalai Lama and Obama, and that the most recent one had taken place at the White House, in July 2016, when Obama was still in office. (According to VoA, that was in June 2016.)

During an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) during a visit to Ottawa, the president of Tibet’s exile government in Dharamsala, Lobsang Sangay, advocated the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” policy.

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