Asia

BRITAIN’S recent decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founder member has led to a kind of stampede by other allies of the United States in Europe such as Germany, France and Italy to follow suit.

So did two other important Asia-Pacific allies, Australia and South Korea. The only other major US ally in Asia which did not was Japan.

What is striking is that these allies went against the express wishes of the US which apparently saw the AIIB as a potential challenge to the domination of the international financial architecture by the US-controlled World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Particularly stunning is the British decision. According to senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Britain’s Cambridge University Martin Jacques, in this year’s Boao Forum, this is the first time since Breton Woods in the 1940s, except for one occasion when Britain refused a US request to send troops to Vietnam, that Britain had ever said no to the US so publicly!

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THE deadline of March 31 has passed, and 52 countries are now on the list of would-be founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The China-led bank was launched in October last year at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a bank to offer funds for development projects during his official visit to Indonesia.

The initiative would promote regional inter-connectivity and economic integration, he said when delivering a speech at the Indonesian Parliament.

In the past few days leading up to the deadline, news of more countries hurrying to join the AIIB made headlines, especially when a few of them announced the decision at the recently concluded Boao Forum in Hainan province, which Xi officiated.

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Once again, Western media misunderstands China’s political system.

 

A recent commentary from The Sydney Morning Herald’s international editor, Peter Hartcher, described China (along with Islamic State and Russia) as “fascist,” sparking an angry response from China’s Foreign Ministry. Yet the piece likely sparked cheers among people with similar views. There’s no problem with being so straightforward, even as China celebrate the 70th anniversary of victory in the “World Anti-Fascist War.” But the logic behind this piece does not stand firm.

The article gives three defining characteristics of fascists to support its argument: authoritarianism, highly centralized power structures, and exalting the nation above the people.

Becoming authoritarian was not the inevitable path for China to stand as an independent, sovereign state after being forced open by the West. Why then is China’s political system this way? As Martin Jacques explains, China is a unique civilization-state, rather than a Western style nation-state. If people attempt to analyze China through a Western lens, there will always be problems. Criticizing China for its political reality, developmental model, and “non-cooperative” behavior is easy, but seeing and truly understanding the differences and divergences between civilizations is far more difficult — so much so that quite often people choose not to even try. Instead, they import a Western concept (in this case, fascism) to try and conceptualize a non-Western system.

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Deal could spark other similar negotiations: analysts

China and South Korea are inching closer to implementing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with a draft agreement, the two countries announced on Wednesday, a move that experts said will help promote China’s similar negotiations with other countries and regions.

China and South Korea confirmed the draft agreement on Wednesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced on its website on Wednesday, noting all FTA negotiations have been completed.

The English-language draft agreement will be translated into Chinese and Korean before being signed, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The two governments have agreed to work toward signing the FTA in the first half of 2015, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy was quoted as saying.

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China and South Korea are inching closer to implementing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with a draft agreement, the two countries announced on Wednesday, a move that experts said will help promote China’s similar negotiations with other countries and regions.

China and South Korea confirmed the draft agreement on Wednesday, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced on its website on Wednesday, noting all FTA negotiations have been completed.

The English-language draft agreement will be translated into Chinese and Korean before being signed, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The two governments have agreed to work toward signing the FTA in the first half of 2015, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy was quoted as saying.

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Dalian, in China is blessed with reputable Maritime University affiliated with World Maritime University Malmo, Sweden. The product of Dalian University is compatible to world standard, so is the ship building industry which has grown to the extent that newly-built ships are competing with South Korea and Japan. The stringent quality standard of international classification societies are complied to deliver a product inferior to none.

It was also amazed to see the Shenzhen Port, a marshy land, transformed into container port handling 10 million TEU, with only 3.7 square kilometres of land. The port has 22-metre draft and handled largest container ship of China Shipping of 19100 TEUs. The technology is the most up-to-date as sitting in Yantin International Container Terminal (YICT) play with joy sticks to control the handling containers with no gantry’s operators. The in-house built software is used, instead of branded ones, promising efficiency. The maximum time of a trailer in port is restricted to 30 minutes, whilst train logistic is connected to port as well.

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In the continent, unlike in the US, China is not seen as a major strategic competitor, says academic expert

Timothy Garton Ash believes China and Europe have the opportunity to forge one of the great-power relationships over the next few decades.

The internationally renowned historian and commentator says such an alliance has far more potential than any the world’s second-largest economy may have with the United States since it would be devoid of superpower rivalry.

“I think the Europe-China relationship is the neglected great-power relationship. Europe is China’s largest trading partner so there is a massive economic relationship,” he says.

“It is also a less difficult relationship than that with the United States, which is not taking kindly to relative decline. It is finding it more difficult to accommodate a rising China.”

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With the inevitable rise of China as no. 1 in the world economy it is important that we re-examine our foreign policy about it. I find it useful to quote once again from a talk by Martin Jacques, a British author who came to Manila in November 2012. He predicted that in a decade, China would surpass the American economy.

Well, with the news that it is now no.1 according to IMF figures, it has come sooner than expected. Jacques’ talk then was about findings that he put together in a book that became a world best seller “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order.” It was published in 2009 and it has continued to enjoy a wide readership. It has since sold over a quarter of a million copies and translated into 11 languages.

Jacques also has a blog where his lectures are posted.  I was able to talk to him while in London recently and his position about China’s rise was unchanged.  In his talk in Manila, he was keen to impart to Filipinos that we ought to be ready for the Chinese economic supremacy. The author had the credentials to deal with both Eastern and Western culture and developments.

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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