Malaysia

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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‘Asian and Western observers have noted that China blamed the United States as the one destabilizing the region, and predicted its rise as a new world superpower.’

China has blamed the United States as the one destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region, ignoring its own bullying of Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, which have territorial claims in the South China Sea. This was contained in a white paper written by China’s Ministry of defense released by Beijing last week. It spelled out its strategic world-view, security priorities, military programs, and main armed forces with a headcount of 1.4 million.

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UNIQUE CIVILISATION: There’s no point judging it by liberal norms

THIS month provided a beauty contest between the two most important powers on the planet right now: America and China. On Nov 6, the United States chose President Barack Obama for a second term in an exciting election that reverberated worldwide.

A week later, the 18th congress of the Communist Party in Beijing began a once-in-a-decade leadership change that lacked for nothing except suspense. Xi Jinping was inaugurated as general secretary on Nov 15. It had been known for some time that he would rise to that pinnacle and become China’s president.

Through narrow Western eyes, the comparison was made as invidious as possible. According to Dominique Moisi, founder of the French Institute of International Affairs, November brought “two victories: not just Obama’s over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the presidential election, but also the victory of America’s democratic system over China’s one-party authoritarianism”.

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MARTIN Jacques, author of the bestseller “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,” was in Manila recently for a half-day lecture at the Hotel InterContinental Manila.

I know this personally, because I was his chaperone during his six-day stay, made possible through the very generous support of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. The lecture was a joint project of PILIPINAS 2020 (of which Senator Cayetano is a member) and the Center for Philippine Futuristics Studies and Management. National Book Store and the Philippine Star were sponsors, and Lyceum of the Philippines was also very supportive, with about 100 students acting as ushers and usherettes for the seminar.

Martin’s arrival – and the message he brought – may not have stirred a hornet’s nest, but surely came close to doing so and definitely caused a lot of those who heard him to take a second look at things. And by “things” I mean our foreign policy attitudes, specifically towards the United States of America and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

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Both China and the Philippines have mishandled their dispute over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, a leading British scholar said Monday, noting Beijing’s obstinacy about its sovereignty claims and Manila’s ill-advised decision to send a naval vessel to confront Chinese fishing boats last April.

This developed as the Philippines vowed to keep speaking out on the global stage about its territorial row with China, as an effort by Southeast Asian nations to forge a united stance at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia crumbled.

In a television interview Monday, Martin Jacques, author of the best-selling book “When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order,” said China could have opted for “joint development” with the other claimants of the resource-rich Spratlys region instead of asserting its sovereignty over it.

The ensuing cordon by Chinese ships around Panatag Shoal after a war of words with the Philippines raised the specter that the title of Jacques book was a fast-approaching reality.

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I DROPPED by Diliman a few days ago to leave a copy of the book “When China Rules the World” for political science professor Dr. Clarita Carlos. She had kindly accepted my invitation to be one of the four-member Panel of Reactors to the lecture of the same title by Martin Jacques, author of the book, which will be held at the Hotel InterContinental on November 19.

(If you happen to be interested in understanding China more, and in the process understanding better how we as a country should deal with the Peoples’ Republic, then I hope you’ll find time to attend. There is a minimal lecture fee, and to get more details contact Pilipinas 2020 through the email pilipinas2020@ymail.com.)

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PETALING JAYA: China may overtake the United States as the biggest economic power in the next four to six years but this does not mean that it will instantly become the world’s superpower, says a leading expert on China.

Dr Martin Jacques, 67, author of the global bestseller When China Rules the World: the End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order, said it would take several decades, from between 2030 and 2040, before it could even achieve developed state status.

“It’d be a long way to go as a superpower,” he said at a talk on “China As Global Superpower: What It Means For Asia and The World”, hosted by the Asian Centre for Media Studies, based in Menara Star.

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Justice Mah Weng Kwai who moderated this session began by introducing the speaker Martin Jacques. Justice Mah also highlighted the power and energy presence of the People’s Republic of China and stressed that China had attained the highest gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita. He proceeded to raise several fundamental issues to be considered by the speaker, namely the effect of China’s sharp economic rise on the world and the possibility of China ruling the world in the future.

The speaker, Martin Jacques began by recalling his fond memory of Malaysia and that of his late wife Harinder Veriah who died tragically. Martin Jacques is the author of the best-selling book “When China Rules the World” which has sold over 250,000 copies.
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PETALING JAYA: China continues to grab world headlines and dominate international news for many reasons. The world’s second largest economy is now expected to be the biggest in only a few years, with many far-reaching implications to follow.

World-renowned author and academic Dr Martin Jacques will be presenting a fresh look at the new China in a talk at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya at 2pm on Thursday.

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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