East Asia

LONDON — The spats between the United States and China appear to be getting more numerous and more serious. The Chinese objected in strong terms to the U.S.’s latest arms deal with Taiwan and threatened to take sanctions against those firms involved. President Obama recently accused the Chinese of currency manipulation. At Davos, Larry Summers, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, made an oblique attack on China by referring to mercantilist policies.

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It’s become apparent from recent events that America’s political, business and scholarly elites have fundamentally misjudged China. Conflicts with China have multiplied. Consider: the undervalued renminbi and its effect on trade; the breakdown of global warming negotiations in Copenhagen; China’s weak support of efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; its similarly poor record in pushing North Korea to relinquish its tiny atomic arsenal; the sale of U.S. weapons to Taiwan; and Google’s threat to leave China rather than condone continued censorship.

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The middle kingdom is rewriting the rules on trade, technology, currency, climate — you name it

Back when President Obama lived in Indonesia, in the late 1960s, China loomed as a malign force to the north, where communist cadres plotted to export their revolution to the rest of Asia. The Jakarta he’ll visit later this month has an entirely different attitude toward the People’s Republic. Local companies are doing deals in yuan, the Chinese currency, rather than dollars. If Jakarta gets in financial trouble, as it did back in 1997, it will be able to call on a $120 billion regional reserve fund, an Asia-only version of the International Monetary Fund due to be launched this month, bankrolled in part by China’s massive foreign-exchange reserves. Asia’s key economic political issues are no longer being hashed out on trips like Obama’s — between individual nations and the United States — but at summits that include only China, Japan, South Korea, and the Southeast Asian countries. “China has been instrumental in this shift in focus from ‘Asia-Pacific,’ which was largely about the U.S. and Japan, to ‘East Asia,’ which has China at the center,” says Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World.

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The economic bogeyman in America’s competitive future is China, and for those old enough to remember, the fear of China eating America’s lunch as the No. 1 economic power in the world is reminiscent of the day we once feared Japan’s rise.

That fear, popularized in the ’80s, proved short-lived. Today, there is no shortage of experts saying China’s future dominance is certain. “When China Rules the World,” a new book written by Martin Jacques and praised by Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jim O’Neill, predicts that by 2027 China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 economy.

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Was the financial crisis of 2008 a global turning point? Did it mark the earliest stage in the decline of US power? Will historians view the financial crisis and the Great Recession as the beginning of a multi-polar world?

StrategyOne explored this issue further by using its proprietary Beltway Barometer survey to track elite Washington opinions on the subject.

The data we collected over two years and across three survey waves paints a picture of Washington’s elite attempting to contextualize the financial crisis and global recession.

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When will China lead the world? Don’t hold your breath.

During his trip to Asia in November, Barack Obama seemed strangely mute. Unlike Bill Clinton, who criticized China’s human rights record in front of then-president Jiang Zemin, Obama largely avoided the topic of rights. In Singapore, despite pressure from human rights activists, the president deferred to pressure to not release a statement calling for the freeing of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In Japan, the president worked valiantly to massage local sentiments, bowing deeply to Emperor Akihito – and drawing flak back in the United States from conservative critics for appearing weak.

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The growth of imported goods from China is much higher

The free trade agreement between the ASEAN countries and China has enabled China to increase its domination in the ASEAN market.

Last month, when free trade was in effect, Chinese products were invading the country. More and more boats carrying China-made products harbor at Tanjung Priok, Jakarta. In January, there was an estimated 30 boats harbored at the Indonesia’s biggest port. The number doubled than last year when there were only 18 boats stopped at Tanjung Priok.

Even before the agreement was implemented in early January this year, China’s power in the region has been increasing, especially in Indonesia.

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I happened to be on the same flight from D.C. to Zurich as Larry Summers, who was reading Martin Jacques’ weighty tome, “When China Rules the World. His review: “Interesting…and disturbing.”

Because of a jam-packed week, my time at this year’s World Economic Forum was limited. But as is always the case with Davos, there were more than a few snapshot-worthy moments.

Things got off to an interesting start before I even arrived. I happened to be on the same flight from D.C. to Zurich as Larry Summers, who was reading Martin Jacques’ weighty tome, “When China Rules the World. His review: “Interesting…and disturbing.”

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Updated and expanded new Chinese edition just released.

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Turkish edition just published!

When China Rules the World is the first book to fully conceive of and explain the upheaval that China’s ascendance will cause and the realigned global power structure it will create.

New edition available now from:

Amazon UK
and all good booksellers.

US second edition is available now via: 

Amazon US