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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Charlie Rose

May 13th, 2011 1 comment

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan were on Charlie Rose May 9, 2011, and I highly recommend a viewing of their conversation (about 40 minutes). Vice Premier Wang (via interpreter) categorically said that the trade imbalance is not related to the currency issue. Geithner basically agreed, though noting currency valuation is “important.” Wang also said that the U.S. is politicizing economic issues with Geithner agreeing. Geithner said both leaders need to fight the urge to do that in their respective countries.

Americans typically think of the Chinese government as a monolithic entity, but they really should see Wang Qishan and listen to how he describes China’s challenge in building consensus in transforming the pattern of growth (towards more consumption based). The Chinese leadership is a collection of personalities with their views and convictions too.

I was encouraged by Geithner’s comment that in the future in order for the U.S. to continue to exert influence, Americans must have a stronger understanding of the rest of the world. Wang Qishan says that it is not “misperceptions” but “lack of understanding” of China that is the problem in the relationship.

Full Text of the Third U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialog Closing Remarks

May 11th, 2011 5 comments

Following the video is the full text of the joint closing remarks to the third U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialog (S&ED) by Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo. I have highlighted where the leaders mentioned specific areas of progress. Read more…

100,000 Strong Initiative taking baby steps

May 10th, 2011 No comments

In the current Strategic and Economic Dialog between U.S. and China, Secretary Clinton reiterated the importance of the 100,000 Strong Initiative. According to the Institute of International Education, there are ten times more Chinese students studying in the U.S. than the other way around. The initiative is to raise the number of Americans studying in China to 100,000 in four years. Clinton said it is “an essential building block to a more solid foundation of a relationship going forward.” China believes in this initiative as well and has already committed 10,000 “Bridge Scholarships.” This initiative was announced last year, so how far has it come along?
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Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting

April 19th, 2011 12 comments

Imagine your obnoxious neighbor giving you an “F” grade for parenting. He is the richest and has the neighborhood’s gangsters loyal to him. What do you do? He has even molested some children in your neighborhood.

There is a reason why the annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” by the United States is formulated by the Department of State. It is a foreign policy instrument. If the U.S. truly cares about human rights, the country would be providing basic drugs to the poorest nations and irradicate easily curable diseases around the globe. It would be giving away food. It would not be killing innocent Iraqi and Afghani children.
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龙信明 Blog: “Ai Weiwei – ‘China’s Conscience’ And Another Dissident Bites the Dust”

April 10th, 2011 78 comments

The following article is sourced from the 龙信明 Blog.

Ai Weiwei – “China’s Conscience”
And Another Dissident Bites the Dust

The Western media are once again having a field day about the detention of yet another “dissident”, this time the artist Ai Weiwei.
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2009 World Military Budgets

April 2nd, 2011 19 comments

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.


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Russia Today, former British intelligence officer, Annie Machon, on Libya

March 25th, 2011 12 comments

Russia Today interviews former British intelligence officer, Annie Machon, who gives illuminating analysis on the Libya situation. She peels the onion on the ‘West war trio’, oil, terrorists, Qadhafi, and other players.

Libya, what’s going on?

March 22nd, 2011 161 comments

Lately I have been trying to make sense of the U.S.-led coalition with Britain, Italy, and France bombing of Libya. Many in the West believe this bombing is for humanitarian purposes, but I disagree. The right way to deal with problems on the ground is to authorize U.N. troops to get into Libya and ensure no civilians are targeted by either Gadhafi or the rebel faction soldiers. NATO (fine, short of Germany) is not a humanitarian organization nor a peace organization. It is a military alliance.

The question is then why did Germany abstain from the ‘no-fly zone’ vote? It is interesting to note that China, Russia, India, and Brazil (the BRIC countries) all abstained from the vote. The remaining 10 of the 15 Security Council members, Bosnia, Colombia, France, Gabon, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Britain and the U.S. voted in favor.
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Chinese U.N. Ambassador to International Media, “You are the sixteenth member of the Security Council.”

March 17th, 2011 No comments

Ronda Hauben

Ronda Hauben

Ronda Hauben has an excellent article on how the international media can play a constructive role with United Nations in fostering peaceful relations between nations. Her article appeared in the the 4th Media. She is a correspondent at the United Nations for a number of media organizations.


“International Media ‘the 16th Member of the Security Council'”
Ronda Hauben
13:19 BeiJing Time,Thursday, March 17, 2011

“You are the sixteenth member of the Security Council.”
– China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong speaking to the international media

In March, China took over the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month. As is the practice at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on March 2, the 2nd day of his presidency, Li Baodong, China’s Ambassador to the UN, held a press conference for journalists at the UN.(1) At the beginning of the press conference, he welcomed the media, saying that the media is the “sixteenth member of the Security Council.” (There are 15 member nations on the UN Security Council.) Read more…

Seiji Maehara, Japanese Foreign Minister resigns; for 250k Yen or Kuril Islands?

March 9th, 2011 7 comments

On March 6, 2011, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara resigned officially due to accepting donation from a Korean national. Most countries have laws banning officials from accepting foreign donations directly or indirectly. Obama was forced to return some donations in 2008 for this same reason. Maehara’s receiving of 250k Yen is paltry though, and I don’t think that is the true reason for his resignation.

It is generally known that Maehara is a Washington hawk. He takes a much more confrontational approach towards China, Russia, and North Korea. It is likely the mishandling of the Kuril Island dispute with Russia that is causing his resignation.
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Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on China’s Foreign Policy

March 7th, 2011 5 comments

Chinese FM Yang Jiechi on foreign policy

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held a live questions and answers session with journalists detailing China’s foreign policy. The session was done in both Chinese and English. I thought Minister Yang was very articulate and Chinese brand of international relations will be well received around the globe. I will highlight some points and also weigh in on the Reuters reporter’s questions.

On the question of Russia-China relations, Yang pronounced it a “strategic partnership.” I think that is very true. Russian leaders and Russian media narrate their relationship the same way.

On Africa and BRIC, Yang said that there are efforts underway to make BRIC a more formalized force in shaping development of the world; but not at the expense of the rest of the developing countries, Africa included. For example, he said BRIC will be inclusive. On responding to the journalist from South Africa, he said that the South African leader is invited and hoped to join the upcoming meeting of BRIC nations in China.
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Russia Today on Russian-China relations and countering the “West”

March 4th, 2011 4 comments

Russia Today featured Martin Hennecke, an associate director at a financial services firm in Hong Kong, commenting on the Russia-China relationship. This was during the backdrop of Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Xi Jinping, who is expected to inherit Chinese President Hu Jintao’s job in 2012. The Russia Today news anchor said “Russia and China today agreed to help each other to increase their clout in global affairs” of the leaders meeting. While the news was back in March 2010, I think it is still relevant today.
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Chinese banks finance $2.6 billion Baha Mar in the Bahamas

March 3rd, 2011 2 comments

The Bahamas has been hit hard by the financial crisis in developed countries and the resultant dwindling tourism. Back in July of 2010, China Daily reported two agencies approved for financing the Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas, enabling much needed job creation. The resort is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. In this report, construction officially started few days ago. The resort is slated to open in late 2014. Chinese Ambassador Hu Dingxian said to Bahamians during the ground break ceremony, “China is committed to an economic relationship of cooperation and mutual benefit.”
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks Internet ‘freedom’

February 17th, 2011 50 comments

A lot has already been written in the Western media about the yesterday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speech on Internet ‘freedom.’ In her speech, Clinton singled out China for being “repressive” on the Internet, and for that reason, the predictable narrative is out yet again: U.S. vs. ‘bad’ China, ‘bad’ China, or U.S. being too harsh to, still, a ‘bad’ China. This nonsense aside, I thought the speech was telling of a number of things.

First of all, don’t forget that the U.S. Department of State’s mission is to conduct U.S. foreign policies. In that sense, everything Clinton said were expected and predictable. The biggest give away is near the end of her speech where she said:
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Egypt’s foreign aid, a poison pill? Another lesson?

February 2nd, 2011 2 comments

With Egypt in turmoil and the U.S. officially “favoring” the protests (via Obama’s indirect support), I’ve been scratching my head on what has happened to this once critical relationship. After the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt changed strategy 180 degrees to embrace the United States. Egypt then struck a peace accord with Israel, a critical step for the U.S. strategy in that region. It is well known that with Egypt’s cooperation, America’s foot-hold in the Middle East was greatly enhanced. For example, the U.S. military have rights to fly over Egypt. U.S. naval ships have priority access through the Suez Canal. In exchange, Egypt was given massive “aid.” By Marian Wang’s count, it has totaled well above $60 billion to date.

So, what went wrong? Why isn’t the U.S. interested in propping up Mubarak anymore?

Editors over at Middle East Quarterly published in December 1995 a ten-point summary, “Does American Aid Help Egypt?” by Aryan Nasif, who wrote in The Left, a Cairese journal, argued the “aid” came with tremendous hardship. Don’t get me wrong, the Egyptian government must take responsibility too, for taking the “aid” and for accepting the terms attached. Amongst Nasif’s points, he said:

The U.S. mutual security law states explicitly that no economic or technical aid may be granted to any country unless it strengthens U.S. security.

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Henry A. Kissinger: “Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war”

January 25th, 2011 4 comments

About a week ago, Henry Kissinger wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post, entitled, “Avoiding a U.S.-China cold war“. He was concerned elites within the U.S. and China pulling for confrontation. Speaking of the Hu-Obama summit, he said, “both leaders also face an opinion among elites in their countries emphasizing conflict rather than cooperation.”

If you have watched the Russia Today segment (my recent prior post), the elites on the American side favoring conflict would in fact be the military industrial complex. Back in 1961, during his famous farewell speech, former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex’s “potential disastrous rise of misplaced power”:
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Russia Today on U.S. elites with respect to China: Military Industrial Complex vs. Rest of Industrial Capitalist

January 21st, 2011 7 comments

Russia Today’s Producer has a very thought-provoking take on the U.S.-China relations. It goes something like this. The true division is among the American elites. On one hand, the military industrial complex wants a fearsome and bogeyman China. On the other, “normal” industrial capitalists wanting more business for their constituents. “Human rights”, “intellectual property”, etc are perhaps “hot air.” “Congress attack on China?” Probably that too.


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A simple take on the Hu Jintao U.S. visit with respect to Western media

January 21st, 2011 11 comments

I am sure many of you have been following Chinese President Hu and U.S. President Obama’s speeches and Q&A’s with the media over the last couple of days. The governments are absolutely trying to be constructive in their relations. For that, it’s been refreshing to see.

After hearing them speak directly, I must say though, the nuances in the Western media are largely lost. They are not going to be respectful of China having a different political system as Obama acknowledged. They are not going to accept that China has a different history as Obama apparently understood. They are not going to be respectful of China as Obama has shown.
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PBS Newshour: Presidents Hu and Obama Answer Questions on U.S.-China Relationship (Part 2)

January 21st, 2011 No comments

PBS Newshour: U.S.-China Relationship Based on Cooperation & ‘Friendly Competition’ (Part 1 – Statements)

January 21st, 2011 No comments

the “100,000 Strong Initiative”

January 19th, 2011 9 comments

During Obama’s 2010 visit to China, he announced the “100,000 Strong Initiative,” a program to get 100,000 American students studying in China within the next few years. China was supportive and announced a matching 10,000 “bridge scholarships” program paying for 10% of the program’s American student in-country studying expenses. Coinciding with Chinese President Hu’s visiting Obama, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama rallied American students to take up on this opportunity today.

I think it is programs such as this that will have a broad effect on a more positive relationship between the countries. Though not mentioned in Obama’s speech, another really important benefit to the U.S. is that these students will bring back new ideas from China. That will only make U.S. a better place. Until the U.S. and the West match proportionately the Chinese students studying abroad in numbers, I bet China is guaranteed to be acquiring ideas faster.
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China President Hu Jintao visits U.S. midst hostile U.S. media

January 18th, 2011 No comments

China President Hu Jintao greeted by U.S. Vice President Biden (China Daily)

China President Hu Jintao has landed in U.S. on his official state-to-state visit and was greeted at the airport by U.S. Vice President Biden today.

The U.S. media continues the same old tune: ‘currency manipulation’, ‘human rights’, and etc. I hope Presidents Hu and Obama make pragmatic breakthroughs at the conclusion of this visit.

For now, I would like to take this occasion in highlighting some of our recent posts dispelling this various nonsense in the U.S. media.

In November 2010, a U.S. congressional committee made some astounding remarks against China on the above issues. We where shocked a branch of the U.S. government would stoop so low and take such an unintelligent stance like the media. Allen and I wrote this, “A point by point rebuttal to the 2010 USCC Annual Report.”
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Reflecting on the Wikileaks Incident: What It Teaches About “Freedom”

January 16th, 2011 11 comments

Before this year really gets going (yes I know I have been out of commission from blogging for a while, a state which may continue for just a while longer), I thought I’d post my own little post reflecting on the Wikileaks incidient – which I think illustrate important issues relating to “freedom.”

The controversy over Wikileaks has evoked strong emotions on all sides here in the U.S. On the one hand, you have those like the U.S. government preaching responsibility, claiming that publication would harm the lives and U.S. interests around the world – that being responsible is necessary to preserving our liberty. On the other hand, you have those like Assange clamoring free speech, raising the specter of a government that can never be trusted.

In the midst of these debates, many have understandably come to see freedom as a balance between competing needs. This is however a mistake.

Balance is the domain of politics, not freedom. Read more…

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence

January 1st, 2011 16 comments

After contemplating a while what to write for Day one of 2011, I thought it worthwhile to simply remind everyone what the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are.  They form the bedrock of Chinese foreign policy.  Chinese President Hu Jintao’s 2011 New Year’s address reaffirmed China’s adherence to them:

China will develop friendly cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and continue to actively participate in international cooperation on global issues, Hu said.

The Western public are likely unfamiliar with what they are or their significance. These principles were formulated in June of 1954 between former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and his counterparts, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, and U Nu of Myanmar. The countries had just re-emerged from the end of WW2.  The colonial powers had finally (by in large) left their occupied territories. The victims wanted a fairer world.

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Shaun Rein: “How To Fix Western-Chinese Relations; Do it with the Nobel Peace Prize.”

December 15th, 2010 57 comments

This is a re-post of an article by Shaun Rein, “How To Fix Western-Chinese Relations; Do it with the Nobel Peace Prize,” where it first appeared on Forbes – with permission from the author.

“How To Fix Western-Chinese Relations”

Do it with the Nobel Peace Prize.
12.14.10, 10:50 AM EST

Tension between China and the West has been inching up over the past year. There have been disputes over everything from Google’s stand against censorship and protectionism to China’s trade surplus, the valuation of the yuan and the problem of North Korea’s thuggery. Bad relations do not help anyone, and they certainly don’t solve any of the very real economic problems the world faces. We need to have the West and China working together. Otherwise we could collapse into another Cold War.
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Peaceful rise, the biggest international relations issue of our life time

December 13th, 2010 74 comments

In 1996, Samuel P. Huntington published his famous book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” where he posited after the Cold War, the world is more likely going to have major wars due to civilizational fault lines than anything else. He recognized that the Cold War was a competition between the Capitalist West and the Communist East. Huntington provoked great debates among international relations theorists. Of course, Hungtington followed the heels of Francis Fukuyama who famously wrote “End of History” at the end of the Cold War, proclaiming that Democracy has won; that that system would be an eventuality for every nation on earth and there will no longer be any major conflicts after that.

Fukuyama has since recanted what he wrote, especially as China has risen in the last couple of decades with a system of its own (albeit changing). Regardless of whether Huntington or Fukuyama is ultimately right, the biggest international relations question for our life time and for the next few generations will be how a new power rises peacefully so the declining power does not clash with it. For now it appears to be between China and America, but for our collective future, it can be between any two nation states (or civilizations if you prefer). History tells us that those clashes are often brutal, and given the awesome technologies we have today, there is probably no place to hide and nobody spared.

If we don’t solve this problem as humans, we are guaranteed to self-destruct sooner or later. If Fukuyama is reading this post, he’d agree this is a worthwhile problem to solve. If Huntington is still alive today, he’d agree too.
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