Monday, 31 May 2010

Beijing does itself no favors by ignoring overwhelming evidence

Lee Byong-Chul

Asia Sentinel, May 31, 2010

The tragic incident in the Yellow Sea where 46 South Korean sailors were killed two months ago with the sinking of the corvette Choeonan was the ultimate shriek of alarm. The attack by North Korea has thrust on Beijing, the North's traditional ally, the problem of showing the global community how it should act in seeking to preserve regional peace and stability.

As expected, China has been extremely cautious, eventually disappointing the South Korean government, which had wanted Beijing to endorse the comprehensive 400-page report into the sinking released last week by a panel of international, presumably impartial experts. The report produced torpedo fragments consistent with North Korean weaponry. Nevertheless, China still says such samples are inconclusive since they could not be traced directly to the North.

Instead, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during a summit meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, on May 28, that China would make a judgment in an "objective and fair manner and take its stance on the basis of facts regarding the sinking of the warship."

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 30 May 2010

North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-il has provoked a dangerous international crisis, yet again. Our correspondent examines the weird and worrying mind of the Dear Leader

Aidan Foster-Carter

The Telegraph, May 30, 2010

In the state newspapers there is hysteria about "traitors". In Pyongyang's markets, prices have rocketed - especially for tinned meat, sugar, portable gas stoves and other goods needed to survive a war.

Last week Kim Jong-Il used an extraordinary cabinet meeting to order North Korean ministries to prepare for "all possible unforeseen circumstances, including the worst-case scenario", while the army's combat readiness was raised to the highest level.

His manner, according to well-informed sources in the capital, was "decisive and rough".

North Koreans have been prepared for battle many times before. But over the last few days the secretive communist state and its paranoid leader appear to have reached a new level of hysteria. There were daily civil defence drills, with citizens ordered not to use lights after dark, imprecations to take refuge in bomb shelters when sirens are sounded, and panic buying.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 29 May 2010


Greg Miller

The Washington Post, May 29, 2010

The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country's tribal areas, according to senior military officials.

Ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban have sharpened the Obama administration's need for retaliatory options, the officials said. They stressed that a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient.

"Planning has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square," one of the officials said.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 28 May 2010


Pablo Bustelo

El País, 28 de mayo de 2010

Corea del Norte nos había acostumbrado a una retórica belicista, incendiaria pero a la postre inofensiva, como cuando Pyongyang amenazaba con convertir a Seúl o Tokio en un mar de fuego. El hundimiento de la corbeta surcoreana en marzo es un importante salto cualitativo en las relaciones entre las dos Coreas, por mucho que haya que tener en cuenta que en junio de 1999 ya hubo un incidente similar, aunque a la inversa, en la misma zona (de aguas disputadas). En aquella ocasión, un barco norcoreano se fue a pique y varias decenas de marineros resultaron muertos.

La respuesta de Corea del Sur al reciente acto de guerra ha sido aparentemente muy medida, aunque no está exenta de riesgos. Descartada la respuesta militar, que es impensable, y pendiente la diplomática, a través de Naciones Unidas, Seúl ha suspendido el comercio bilateral, entre otras decisiones menores. Tal cosa puede tener más mordiente de lo que parece. Los intercambios con el Sur suponen el 30% del comercio total del Norte. Se ha estimado en unos 300 millones de dólares (unos 245 millones de euros), casi una décima parte del producto interior bruto de Corea del Norte, el coste de las decisiones de Seúl. No es un impacto pequeño en un país empobrecido y con serios problemas económicos.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Oxford Analytica

Forbes, May 27, 2010

The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (SED) is a semi-annual, multi-agency dialogue intended to strengthen coordination of key issues across an increasingly complex relationship. However, at the top levels, the bilateral agenda was swept away by the euro-area currency crisis and escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Led by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and State Councillor Dai Bingguo and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, the SED concluded in Beijing Tuesday. The dialogue appears to have helped keep the bilateral relationship steady amid economic turbulence and a growing security crisis on the Korean peninsula. However, the heavy investment made by President Barack Obama's administration in the process has yet to pay off.

Keeping economic expectations low. The Obama administration deferred the April 15 decision mandated by Congress on whether to declare China a 'currency manipulator' and indicated that the SED and G20 meetings would be more appropriate mechanisms to encourage Beijing to adjust the renminbi upward. However, before departing for China last week, Geithner announced that the U.S. would not make this longstanding problem a central issue in the dialogue.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Mathew Joseph

Forbes, May 26, 2010

India is beginning to bounce back from the global financial crisis. But the IMF has warned that large capital inflows from foreign institutional investors could disrupt this recovery. An analysis of policy options proposed in a recent IMF report reveals, however, that past methods of dealing with FII inflows are inadequate and that market-based capital controls may be the only sufficient response. According to the recent IMF publication the World Economic Outlook, India's GDP growth rate may leap from 5.7% to 8.8% between 2009-2010. This is even higher than the most optimistic projections by the Indian finance ministry.

Less encouraging, however, is the IMF's simultaneously released Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) in which policy response options are suggested for dealing with capital inflow surges from advanced countries in emerging economies.

While the global economic recovery has been better than anticipated, the IMF identifies two risks: one that affects advanced countries and the other emerging economies. The sovereign risk crisis, which has already erupted in Europe is also threatening other advanced countries with high fiscal deficits and rising debt levels. Emerging economies experiencing a high-speed growth recovery are receiving, once again, large capital inflows from advanced countries that undertook huge liquidity expansion in response to the financial crisis. This has led to a rise in the prices of both goods and assets in emerging economies, besides exerting upward pressure on their exchange rates. The impact on India is particularly significant.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 24 May 2010


Christophe Schmidt

Sydney Morning Herald, May 25, 2010

The United States and China were wrapping up strategic talks Tuesday aimed at smoothing out differences on currency and trade issues, as Washington presses Beijing to get tough on North Korea.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were meeting senior Chinese officials for the second and final day of the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

Underlining the meeting's importance after months of tension, Washington has sent a mammoth 200-strong delegation including several cabinet-level ministers and other high-ranking officials to the Chinese capital.

The talks have given the two sides the opportunity to air their differences on an array of issues ranging from trade spats and the value of the yuan to Internet freedom and Taiwan.

Both sides said the annual negotiations had got off to a "good start", but the world's number one and three economies appeared apart on several fronts.

(...) [artículo aquí]


Leo Lewis

The Times, May 24, 2010

President Barack Obama today said he “fully supports” the South Korean president and his response to the torpedo attack by North Korea that killed 46 South Korean sailors as the cross-border animosity between the two countries continues to rise.

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak earlier today demanded that North Korea “immediately apologise and punish those responsible for the attack, and, most importantly, stop its belligerent and threatening behaviour” and announced it will take the case of the torpedoed Cheonan warship to the United Nations Security Council.

In a move which analysts described as “cautiously hard-line”, Mr Lee also said he would be suspending all exchanges between the two Koreas and imposing a total ban on North Korean ships passing through South Korean waters.

His government banned all trade, investment and visits with North Korea. South Korea also plans to reduce the number of workers in a joint factory park just inside the North which has long been an important source of income for the North Korean leadership.

The White House said Seoul can continue to count on the full backing of Washington.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Rebecca Christie

Bloomberg, May 23, 2010

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will tell his Chinese counterparts that Europe’s battle with a Greece-triggered debt crisis should have only a small effect on the broader global recovery, a U.S. official told reporters in Beijing today.

Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are in China for the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a set of annual high-level talks. Geithner will then depart for London, Berlin and Frankfurt to meet with European officials and reinforce his call for coordinated efforts to fight off the crisis and rein in government spending.

One-sided efforts like Germany’s ban on naked short-selling are counterproductive and unlikely to boost investor confidence, said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official also said such measures have a poor historical track record and are unlikely to be adopted on a wider scale.

Heading into this week’s meetings, U.S. Treasury officials called for China to “do everything it can” to contribute to a broad-based global recovery. This includes allowing the yuan, which has been pegged at about 6.8 to the dollar, to appreciate against the U.S. currency.

The U.S. assessment that Europe’s debt crisis won’t drag down the global economy could be aimed at easing Chinese fears about letting the yuan rise while the European economy lags behind the U.S. and parts of Asia. Analysts say Chinese officials may be loath to relax the yuan peg while the dollar is rising against the euro and other major currencies.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 22 May 2010


The China Post, May 21, 2010

BEIJING -- China, North Korea's sole major ally, could support new sanctions against Pyongyang over the sinking of a South Korean warship but wants above all to safeguard regional stability, analysts say.

China, which plans to make its own “assessment” of an international probe which concluded a North Korean submarine torpedoed the Cheonan in March, does not want to risk international isolation on Kim Jong-Il's behalf, they say.
But Beijing's support for crippling sanctions could be tempered by its fears of an influx of refugees across its common border with the North should Kim's impoverished state crumble under the weight of punitive measures, they say.

Zhu Feng, the director of the International Security Program at Peking University, said the Cheonan incident could push Beijing to rethink its close ties with Pyongyang, exemplified by Kim's visit to China earlier this month.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 20 May 2010


BBC News, May 20, 2010

International investigators say a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, on 26 March. The investigators say a North Korean torpedo split the vessel in half. Forty-six sailors were killed. The BBC looks at the implications of the incident.

What happened?

On the evening of 26 March the Cheonan warship, a corvette, was sailing off Baengnyeong island close to the disputed inter-Korean maritime border. An explosion split it in two and it sank. Fifty-eight sailors managed to escape but 46 were killed.

Investigators looked at whether a mine left over from the Korean War could have been to blame, or an internal malfunction on the ship. But they concluded that what sank the ship was a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine, saying that part of the torpedo found on the sea floor carried lettering that matched a North Korean design.

What does North Korea say?

North Korea denies any responsibility for the incident and accuses the South of "fabrication". It says it wishes to send its own team of experts to verify the evidence.
What might have motivated the attack remains unclear. Naval vessels from the two Koreas have clashes on several occasions off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula - but these incidents involve warships exchanging fire. The use of a submarine to sink a ship marks a dramatic escalation in these clashes.

Analysts have suggested various reasons for the attack. These include an attempt to rally the military around the leadership of Kim Jong-il as he prepares to name a successor; a unilateral act by the North Korean military; or an attempt to force Seoul to resume previous aid and trade policies now viewed dimly by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The odds are on retribution

G.M. Greenwood

Asia Sentinel, May 19, 2010

The present phase of unrest centered on Bangkok is set to end within the next day or so under the guns of the military. The deployment of troops backed by armored vehicles and water cannon has been inevitable ever since it became obvious that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's fractious government was unable to meet any of the demands of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) Red Shirts for new elections it would not win.

The reoccupation of the last fixed Red Shirt bastion at the Ratchaprasong Intersection in Bangkok's commercial core amidst heavy gunfire marks the transformation of the UDD from a patronized gaggle of provincials camping out in the center of the metropolis into a formidable and resilient political force.

The fall of Ratchaprasong, however, is likely to be a brief hiatus in a contest that will test Prime Minister Abhisit's ability to end the revolt without setting the charges for what could be an even greater upheaval.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Martin Crutsinger

The Washington Post, May 18, 2010

China boosted its holdings of U.S. Treasury debt for the first time in six months, U.S. officials said Monday. That development could ease concerns that lagging foreign demand will force the United States to pay higher interest rates to finance its debt.

The Treasury Department said that China's holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose 2 percent in March, to $895 billion, the first increase since last September. The purchases solidified China's position as the world's largest holder of U.S. debt.

Japan, the No. 2 investor, also increased its holdings in March. They rose 2.1 percent, to $784 billion. Total foreign holdings of Treasury securities rose 3.5 percent, to $3.9 trillion.

The government reported that net holdings of long-term securities, which includes the debt of U.S. companies as well as government debt, rose $140 billion in March, the largest one-month gain on record. It surpassed the old record of $135.8 billion in May 2007.

The big increase was influenced by two factors: a flight to safety by investors increasingly worried about the debt crisis in Europe and a rebounding U.S. economy that has made American corporate debt more attractive to foreigners.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 17 May 2010


Thomas Fuller and Seth Mydans

The New York Times, May 17, 2010

BANGKOK — Chaotic gun battles in central Bangkok marked a new phase of the city’s spiraling violence Monday as residents hoarded food and the government warned die-hard protesters that they should leave their encampment or risk “harmful” consequences.

Protesters roaming the lawless streets of a strategically important neighborhood near the protest zone threatened to set fire to a gasoline truck as bonfires, some from piles of tires, sent large plumes of black, acrid smoke into the sky.

Security forces armed with assault rifles were deployed in greater numbers across the city after many firefights, including a nighttime grenade attack on the five-star Dusit Thani hotel, a landmark in the city.

The attack and a subsequent prolonged gun battle suggested that Thai security forces were up against more than just protesters with slingshots and bamboo staves. The mayhem of the crackdown, which follows two months of demonstrations by protesters who are seeking the resignation of the government, has made it difficult to understand who is battling whom.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Simon Tisdall

The Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 2010

If the clashes in Bangkok were transposed to central Paris, international commentators would be talking about revolution, class warfare, the future of the social contract, looming economic catastrophe and the end of democracy. Outside pressure would be immense.

Thailand's latest turbulence, which began in March, has failed to attract that level of interest. That may change as the country struggles to avoid a descent into uncontrolled violence, even civil war.

Despite a long history of military interference, Thailand is still a democratic country with a parliamentary system and a constitutional monarch. Its example matters to Malaysia, to the south, where tensions over ethnic, civil and human rights sometimes produce autocratic responses, and even more so in Burma, to the north, where pro-democracy forces oppose a brutal military dictatorship.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Mike Dorning

Bloomberg – Business Week, May 15, 2010

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said he is “confident” China will allow the value of the yuan to rise against the dollar.

“It is in China’s interest that they move to let their exchange rate start to gradually reflect market forces,” Geithner said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “I’m confident they’re going to do that.”

Geithner, who last month delayed a report that may have branded China a currency manipulator, is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in Beijing on May 24-25.

China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, halted the currency’s 21 percent, three-year advance against the dollar in July 2008 to help exporters weather recessions in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Chinese authorities have kept the currency at about 6.8 to a dollar, a policy that has blunted the competitiveness of Asia’s export-dependent nations, whose currencies have appreciated this year.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 14 May 2010


Michael Davidson

Asia Times, May 14, 2010

Later this month, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke goes to China to promote US clean energy technologies while Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton follow for the second round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. All will discuss ways to strengthen the US-China relationship by combating environmental degradation.

The security implications of climate change offer promising areas of cooperation between the US and China. Both countries agree on the potential damaging effects of climate change as well as on the need for coordinated international responses. However, US defense planners have not fully recognized the many benefits to be gained by cooperating with China on this front. Given the scale of the problem, a US-China climate security partnership coulddwarf existing military cooperation and help stabilize the bilateral relationship.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


Takahiro Fukada

The Japan Times, May 13, 2010

The Greek financial crisis is unlikely to wreak havoc on the Japanese economy, although a strengthening of the yen as a result of the euro's depreciation will inevitably affect exports bound for Europe, according to some economists.

But they caution that Japan shouldn't regard the crisis as just something happening on the other side of the planet and the nation must work hard to rebuild its finances, which are actually worse than Greece's.

"The European Union is not at all a major market for Japan," said Hiromasa Kubo, a professor at Kobe University who specializes in European economics. "Even if exports (to EU nations) decline, that won't have a big negative impact on the Japanese economy as a whole. I am more fearful of China stumbling."

According to Finance Ministry statistics for last year, EU nations bought just 12.4 percent of all of Japan's exports. China meanwhile accounted for 18.8 percent of the total, and Asia as a whole for 54.1 percent.

(...) [artículo aquí]


Mainichi Daily News, May 12, 2010

The U.S. government has concluded that North Korea sank a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea in late March and has begun discussing possible measures to be taken in response, the JoongAng Daily reported from Washington on Wednesday, citing diplomatic sources.

The sources also said the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is preparing a joint U.S.-South Korean statement condemning the North Korean action and promising a strengthened military alliance.

The statement would include plans for a joint naval exercise off the west coast where 1,200-ton corvette Cheonan was broken in two and sank following an unexplained explosion on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Andrew Sheng

The China Post, May 11, 2010

Readers would have noticed that I hardly write about the Chinese economy, concentrating on the global economy. This is because there are many who understand the Chinese economy more, whereas my comparative advantage has been in the international economy. But the rise of China to an important economy is that no Chinese policy can be discussed without reference to international implications and vice versa.

Now that there are further signs of improvement in the global economy, the current hot debate has been on two issues: the Greek crisis and the Chinese RMB. I see the Greek issue as one of the contradictions of European integration, where the Chinese RMB is a flashpoint of cross-Pacific balance. Both deserve evaluation on a more objective plane from a longer and wider perspective.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 10 May 2010


Michael Sainsbury

The Australian, May 11, 2010

THERE is growing concern in Asia that China and other economies across the region may become victims of the growing crisis in Europe, despite the banks being largely unexposed to sovereign debt in Western Europe and a lower level of government debt.

The most immediate threat looming for the region is a reduction in exports to Europe, China's biggest single market, as well as a replay of the rapid tightening of inter-bank lending that helped trigger the global recession.

Macquarie analyst Richard Jerram said most of the damage to Asia was more likely to come through the impact on the global financial system, but Asian banks had minimal direct exposure to Europe.

"We should assume that European regulators are prepared to supply liquidity and capital in the event of some form of default, as they have had six months to prepare, so a post-Lehman style seizure should be avoidable, but clearly there could be significant disruption, " he said. "This is the main risk for Asia.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The subcontinent's elite have a huge market all to themselves – and a vast gap is opening up between rich and poor

Elliot Wilson

The Observer, May 9, 2010

Brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia and Shashi's son, Prashant, have been busy. They have just spun out the power and oil interests from their sprawling Essar conglomerate, one of India's largest, and floated it on the London stock market as Essar Energy, in the biggest UK listing in more than two years. The £1.2bn float got off to a shaky start, with shares tumbling 7.2% on the first day, but will propel Essar into the FTSE 100 index at its next reshuffle.

The Ruia family's bank account may get another boost from Vodafone, which in 2007 made the leap into the Indian mobile telecoms market, buying two-thirds of an Indo-Hong Kong corporation, Hutchison Essar. The British group now has to decide whether to exercise an option to buy out the Ruias' 33% stake in Vodafone Essar for at least £3.3bn.

The money keeps rolling in for the Ruias, one of India's wealthiest and most powerful dynasties. Collectively the family ranks 40th on Forbes' Rich List 2010, with a fortune of £8.6bn drawn from interests spanning steel, energy, power and shipping.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Bloomberg, May 8, 2010

China needs to slow economic growth to below 10 percent to avoid overheating and contain inflation, a cabinet researcher said.

“China’s economic growth may slow later this year, which is necessary to avoid overheating,” Liu Shijin, deputy director of the State Council’s Development and Research Center, said at a financial forum in Beijing today. “While the government takes steps to damp asset prices, we should also closely monitor inflation” after record bank lending last year, Liu said.

China’s statistics bureau may next week report an acceleration in producer price gains and consumer inflation, underscoring a risk of overheating even after Premier Wen Jiabao unleashed what economists called “draconian” measures to crack down on property speculation and raised banks’ reserve requirements for a third time this year to rein in liquidity.

Wen’s campaign to cool real estate prices may damp expansion of the world’s third-largest economy as the Greek debt crisis threatens to undermine export demand, exacerbating any slowdown. Concerns that the European contagion may spread led Asian stocks to tumble yesterday after U.S. equities plunged the most in a year the previous day.

China now faces an “even more complex” environment as the debt crisis adds uncertainty to the global recovery and excessive liquidity in China pushes up asset prices, Liu said.

“Where is the ultra-loose monetary policy going? That is like the other shoe that has yet to drop,” said Liu, whose agency advises China’s top policy makers.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Friday, 7 May 2010


Commodity Online, May 7, 2010

China's GDP growth will slow down from 11.9% in Q1 to 9% in Q4.Lower productivity growth, adverse demographics and lower returns to capital will reduce future potential GDP growth in China to around 9%. The peak is already evidenced in the data: Industrial production has turned and the growth in power, coal, cement, steel and auto production has slowed down. The circulation of money and credit, a major driver of commodity demand, could slow the economy down further, a Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BofAML) analysis said.

BofAML economists continue to believe that China’s economy will rebalance, via more FX flexibility. A stronger currency will likely reduce the current account surplus, in turn reducing Chinese FX reserve accumulation. On our estimates, the impact of a Chinese revaluation varies strongly by commodity. In some cases, a CNY revaluationwould negatively impact consumption growth as a stronger CNY reduces exports and hence GDP growth. Most commodities, however, should benefit from a positive long-run effect, as a revaluation would boost the purchasing power of the Chinese consumer for USD-denominated raw materials.

Chinese government has tightened lending growth, this past weekend, the People's Bank of China hiked the reserve ratio requirement by 50 bp, continuing on its path of tighter monetary policy via quantative measures. Most importantly, China is also tightening its screws on the property sector as it poses a real risk to the economy.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Thursday, 6 May 2010


China Real Time Report, May 6, 2010

China vowed to use an “iron hand” – and an extra $12 billion – to reach efficiency targets after revealing energy intensity rose 3.2% in the first quarter compared to last year, reversing a steady decline in the amount of energy used to produce each dollar of gross domestic product.

The increase in the amount of power China’s economy is using relative to how much it’s producing is a major setback in the push to cut energy intensity by 20% by the end of 2010 from 2006. Up until last year, China was doing pretty well, lowering the relative use of energy by 14.38%, according to a statement by Premier Wen Jiabao.

According to China Daily, Wen told a nationwide videoconference of government officials Wednesday to use an “iron hand” to shut down inefficient enterprises. The report said the government had also earmarked an extra $12 billion to pay for upgrades and other measures to reach the goals.

It’s also planning to increase the price of natural gas and electricity prices to encourage households to be more frugal with power.

The government also pledged to shut down hundreds of smaller coal-fired power plants, substandard steel mills and iron smelters, cement plants, aluminum makers, sheet glass factories and paper mills.

This year’s sudden surge in energy use – and with it pollution and greenhouse gases – underscores the costs of China’s reliance on infrastructure, housing and heavy industry to drive its economy.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Juwono Sudarsono

The Jakarta Post, May 5, 2010

Indonesia’s strategic vision is defined by its strategic geopolitical and geoeconomic location which defines its perennial interest in keeping track of security trends in the linkages of regional clusters encompassing: Northeast Asia (Japan, China, South Korea) including Taiwan; Southeast Asia (the 10 member states of ASEAN), including Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste; Southwest Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific).

Together with the United States, Canada, Chile and Brazil, the Trans Pacific Partnership constitutes roughly 76 percent of the world’s GDP.

Indonesia is one of the world’s geopolitical “regional pivotal states” along with Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Australia, the latter seven being co-members of the G20.

In diplomatic forums Indonesia participates in the UN system, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), ASEAN, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and since 2008, in the G20.

Within the ASEAN Security Community (ASC), Indonesia strives to cooperate and maintain intra ASEAN stability with its nine fellow member states in mainland and maritime Southeast Asia.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Ophelia Chan

Forbes, May 4, 2010

During the global financial crisis, the Chinese government relaxed the existing policies issued in 2007 and 2008, which were meant to curb speculation in property investment. With rising residential property values throughout China, many of those policies have been reintroduced and this time the central government means business.

Following a string of regulations since February 2010 looking to dampen demand and supply in the residential sector, the latest government edict in early April has had a much greater impact: within a few weeks of its introduction, transaction volumes have fallen substantially in 21 major cities including all of the four Tier I cities, being Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

As an active participant in the Chinese real estate sector, Harvest Capital Partners, a boutique investment firm that specializes in real estate, expects this trend in the residential real estate market to continue over the short to medium term. In the mean time, you may be asking what’s next for China’s property market and where you should be investing your money. We believe the greatest opportunities lie not in residential property, but in the retail property sector.

The rise of the Chinese consumer

Let’s step back from the property market for a moment and take a look at the bigger picture. China’s economy proved to be remarkably resilient during the recent global financial crisis, with GDP growth for 2009 pegged at a robust 8.7%. For the first quarter of 2010, GDP achieved an even more impressive 11.9% growth.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Monday, 3 May 2010


Na Jeong-ju

The Korea Times, May 3, 2010

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's China visit has been long anticipated since his reclusive state withdrew from the six-nation denuclearization talks in April last year, in response to U.N. sanctions over its missile and nuclear tests.

Then why now? And what will be the topics of discussion at his private summit with Chinese President Hu Jintao, which is expected to take place today or tomorrow in Beijing?

The trip came at a sensitive time while South Korea is working together with the United States, Australia and Sweden to find the exact cause of the sinking of the Navy vessel Cheonan near the western inter-Korean sea border, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors.

As North Korea is the prime suspect in the biggest naval disaster during peacetime on the Korean Peninsula, the summit may focus on deterring South Korea's response to seek international retaliation -militarily or diplomatically - to the much-speculated act of aggression.

Last week, Chinese President Hu, at a summit with President Lee Myung-bak on the sidelines of the World Expo in Shanghai, expressed his deep condolences to South Korea for the death of the sailors.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Ten years on after a massive infrastructure push to build roads and railway lines, living standards are rising in western China, a region long left out of the country's growth story and crucial to its stability. But widening inequalities and growing pressures on land are creating new anxieties in villages and small towns.

Ananth Krishnan

The Hindu, May 2, 2010

Zitong (Sichuan province):“If you want to get rich,” declares Zhang Si Cui, watching the steady stream of tractors and small trucks on the newly laid concrete road that runs right past her doorstep, “the first thing you need is a good road.”

But getting rich, and good roads, for long eluded Zitong, a small village in northern Sichuan, a province in China's far west. Farmers like Zhang, who is in her seventies, have spent much of their lives watching from the sidelines as the rest of their country, urged on by former leader Deng Xiaoping three decades ago, “got rich”.

If you draw a vertical line right through the middle of China, you will find, on either side, contrasting growth stories. Much of China's development since the economic reforms and opening up in 1978 has been driven by the booming factory-towns along the eastern coast. Prosperity has since spread inward to the fertile river deltas of the east and the south, where poverty has all but disappeared. Western China, however, is still waiting for its growth story.

A vast, barren but mineral-rich region stretching across nine provinces and administrative regions, including Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, Tibet and Xinjiang, western China is home to more than one-fourth of the country's 1.3 billion population. It is, also, home to more than 70 per cent of China's poor, as well as most of the country's 55 ethnic minorities. The far west has historically lagged behind the rest of the country. After three decades of growth since reforms, the disparity has only grown wider. The income gap between rural and urban areas is now the widest in the People's Republic of China's history.

(...) [artículo aquí]

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Christopher Bodeen

Associated Press, May 1, 2010

SHANGHAI — A proud Shanghai threw open the gates of the 2010 World Expo on Saturday, kicking off an event that underscores the Chinese financial hub's comeback as a major world city after decades of spartan industrialism following the 1949 communist revolution.

Like the 2008 Olympics, the World Expo is showcasing China's growing economic and geopolitical sway, both for the world and for its own public.

Following a gala fireworks, fountains and laser-light celebration, dignitaries gathered Saturday to declare the Expo open in a much less grandiose ceremony.

"Everything starts at the World Expo and all things come together at the Expo site," said Jia Qinglin, the Communist Party's No. 4 ranking leader.

Gates opened to what was expected to be a relatively limited number of ticket holders — all those not holding May 1 tickets were told to stay away because they would not be admitted.

Friday night's star-studded indoor festivities included action star Jackie Chan, Japanese singer Shinji Tanimura, concert pianist Lang Lang and opera star Andrea Bocelli, among 2,300 performers. Afterward, guests moved outside for a lights, music and fireworks jubilee that lit up the drab banks of the Huangpu river with 1,200 searchlights, powerful lasers and mobile fountains.

(...) [artículo aquí]