Tag Archives: China

RCEP Hops On The New Silk Roads, by Pepe Escobar

Spearheaded by the Chinese and Russian governments, new economic alliances are forming across Eurasia. From Pepe Escobar at The Asia Times via zerohedge.com:

Ho Chi Minh, in his eternal abode, will be savoring it with a heavenly smirk. Vietnam was the – virtual – host as the 10 Asean nations, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, on the final day of the 37th Asean Summit..

RCEP, eight years in the making, binds together 30% of the global economy and 2.2 billion people. It’s the first auspicious landmark of the Raging Twenties, which started with an assassination (of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani) followed by a global pandemic and now ominous intimations of a dodgy Great Reset.

RCEP seals East Asia as the undisputed prime hub of geoeconomics. The Asian Century in fact was already in the making way back in the 1990s. Among those Asians as well as Western expats who identified it, in 1997 I published my book 21st: The Asian Century (excerpts here.)

RCEP may force the West to do some homework, and understand that the main story here is not that RCEP “excludes the US” or that it’s “designed by China”. RCEP is an East Asia-wide agreement, initiated by Asean, and debated among equals since 2012, including Japan, which for all practical purposes positions itself as part of the industrialized Global North. It’s the first-ever trade deal that unites Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea.

By now it’s clear, at last in vast swathes of East Asia, that RCEP’s 20 chapters will reduce tariffs across the board; simplify customs, with at least 65% of service sectors fully open, with increased foreign shareholding limits; solidify supply chains by privileging common rules of origin; and codify new e-commerce regulations.

When it comes to the nitty gritty, companies will be saving and be able to export anywhere within the 15-nation spectrum without bothering with extra, separate requirements from each nation. That’s what an integrated market is all about.

When RCEP meets BRI

The same scratched CD will be playing non-stop on how RCEP facilitates China’s “geopolitical ambitions”. That’s not the point. The point is RCEP evolved as a natural companion to China’s role as the main trade partner of virtually every East Asian player.

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Beijing Sends Biden a Warning, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Want to send your kids or grandkids off to fight the Chinese over some rocks in the South China Sea? If Joe Biden and the Democrats don’t believe in America First, who or what do they put first? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Because of Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden thundered during the campaign, the U.S. “is more isolated in the world than we’ve ever been … America First has made America alone.”

Biden promised to repair relations with America’s allies. And he appears to have gone some distance to do so in the congratulatory phone call he received from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

According to Suga, during the brief call, Biden said Article V of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty of 1960 covers the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, islands Japan controls but China claims as its own.

“President-elect Biden gave me a commitment that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands,” said a delighted Suga. And what does Article V commit us to?

“Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger…”

Message: The U.S. will treat a Chinese attempt to take the Senkakus, tiny rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea, as an attack on the USA, and America will fight China to secure Japan’s right to keep the islands.

Biden has removed any ambiguity that may have existed and given Tokyo a U.S. war guarantee that covers the Senkakus.

The response of China’s foreign ministry was to angrily lay claim to the islands they call the Diaoyus as “inherently Chinese” and to dismiss the U.S.-Japan security treaty as a “product of the Cold War.”

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Is There Really A China Economic Miracle? by Daniel Lacalle

There are so many holes and lies in China’s economic statistics that they bely the vaunted economic miracle. Also, it should not be forgotten that much of China’s growth, like so-called growth in much of the rest of the world, is bought on credit. From Daniel Lacalle at hedgeye.com:

 

Is There Really A China Economic Miracle? - 11 16 2020 11 21 49 AM

The year 2020 will be an extremely tough year for the European economy. Added to an unprecedented drop is a strong impact in the fourth quarter due to the new lockdowns. 

Morgan Stanley estimates that the eurozone’s GDP will fall by 2.2% in the fourth quarter, a 7% drop in the full year 2020. In addition, the investment bank lowers the outlook for 2021 with a rebound of only 5% in the average of the euro area, delaying the recovery of 2019 GDP to 2023.

The “jobless recovery” is even more worrying. The apparently spectacular rebound data for the third quarter resulted in zero job creation. Unemployment in the eurozone in September stood at 8.3% and in Spain at 16.5%, not counting the millions of furloughed jobs in Europe.

In this environment, the United States’ recovery seems much stronger. GDP recovered in the third quarter to just 3.5% below 2019 levels. Unemployment has fallen to 6.9% in October but remains well above the record employment levels of 2019.   

However, the data from China is apparently spectacular. The manufacturing and services index already show an enviable expansion. GDP for the first three quarters is already growing at 0.7% after an expansion of 4.9% in the third quarter. Urban unemployment in China is 5.4% after shooting to a paltry 6%. What is behind the Chinese miracle compared to the poor eurozone?

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US Murder Machine Now Under Competent Management, by Caitlin Johnstone

Some things will not change regardless of who wins the presidency. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States is now all but certain.

In order to have any chance of successfully advancing his legal narrative of electoral shenanigans President Trump would have to both (A) really want to remain president and (B) have the backing of sufficiently large power structures, neither of which appear to be the case. When you’re a Republican president and Murdoch is actively fighting against you, it doesn’t matter what the facts are. The narrative war is lost. Trump is done.

[Forrest Gump voice:] And just like that, the Russians were gone.

Every Kremlin agent hiding under every bed, every Saint Petersburg troll lurking around every corner, every Russian hacker we’ve been told was working around the clock to destroy America’s imaginary democracy–poof! We’re not hearing a word about them anymore.

If the Russians had really been trying to influence this election, as we’ve been told for years they most definitely would, and if foreign election interference really is an act of war comparable to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, as we’ve been told for years that it is, then it should be just as big a deal regardless of which candidate win. Yet we’re not hearing a peep on the subject from the blue-checkmarked commentariat who’ve been shrieking about the Russian menace for four years.

We have, oh so very predictably, been hearing a fair bit about China though.

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Why Is Europe Courting Revolution? by Alastair Crooke

The Europeans put up with lockdown in Covid-19 Round One, but they’re much less inclined to go along with Round Two. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

All eyes remain on the U.S. election, and on fathoming its consequences. But in the shadow of ‘The Election’, there are other ‘moving parts’: Germany just offered Washington ‘a sweetheart deal’ in which, Europe – with Germany leading – accepts to leverage America’s full-spectrum strategy of isolating and weakening Russia and China. And in return it is asking the U.S. to acquiesce to German leadership of a ‘power-political’, European entity that is raised to parity with the U.S. That, bluntly, is to say, Germany is angling for ‘superpower’ status, atop an EU ‘empire’ for the new era. Putin recognised such a possibility (Germany aspiring to be a superpower) during his recent speech to Valdai.

But the other ‘moving parts’ to this bid are very much in motion, too: Firstly, Germany’s ploy is contingent on their hopes for a Biden win, which may, or may not, occur. And then, too, President Macron seeks for himself, and for France, the leadership of Europe – with this latter – to an extent – being contingent on a ‘no deal’ Brexit taking place at the end of the year, that would further weaken a dis-animated and fading Merkel. France rather, plots the ‘Great Reset’ of Europe: A regulatory and values enforced ‘space’, underpinned by a common fiscal and debt regime that would rebuild France’s economic infrastructure.

All this raises many questions: Should Trump win, he can be expected to puncture any German (or French) aspiration to drain away some of America’s power, however nicely the German FM wraps it, as the U.S. not so much losing power, but as gaining “a strong partner on equal terms”. Huh!

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Biden family scandal: Seven uncomfortable realities confronting the Democrat nominee, by John Solomon

Joe Biden’s problems with possible corruption in Ukraine and China aren’t going away. From John Solomon at justthenews.com:

It’s not the Russians exposing Joe Biden, it’s his son’s former business partners.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has offered short, at times, halting defenses of his son Hunter’s business deals in recent weeks after months of ignoring an increasingly clear narrative of a family member pursuing lucrative business deals in the shadows of his vice presidency.

“Not one single solitary thing was out of line,” Biden said last Thursday when the questions about his son’s business dealings came up at the last presidential debate. “Not a single thing.”

“My son has not made money in terms of this thing, about what are you talking about, China,” Biden said. “I have not had, the only guy that’s made money from China is this guy,” he added, point to Donald Trump.

Other times he and his defenders have rebuffed questions about the family business as a “smear job” or “Russian disinformation.” But Biden’s campaign hasn’t disputed much of the evidence that has become public, instead declaring it doesn’t matter because no crimes have been proven.

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How the U.S. Benefits from ‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’, by Doug Bandow

Just because much of the world hates the US government doesn’t mean they necessarily love China’s. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

As Washington seeks allies amid rising tensions, Beijing discovers the downside of its international image.

With the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China potentially headed into a new cold war that would hurt both countries, American policymakers should remember the importance of gaining friends and allies around the world. And not just governments, but peoples too.

That wasn’t too hard against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Washington made mistakes internationally, but the USSR was dull, gray, threatening, backward, isolated, oppressive, and hostile to what so many people around the world desired: freedom in all its forms, modern commerce and culture, and hope for the future. The regime effectively imprisoned its entire population. Moscow’s most economically successful satellite regime, East Germany, literally walled in its people.

The PRC is threatening and oppressive, but its opening to the West, abandonment of Maoism, acceptance of personal autonomy, and embrace of economic freedom make it radically different than the USSR. China is connected to the world, flush with current culture, and full of economic opportunity. It is a technological leader and place of hope for people just a few decades away from immiserating poverty. Beijing no longer bars its people from traveling, other than those deemed to be politically unreliable.

Which, of course, highlights the fact that the PRC is retrogressing on the freedom front. Unfortunately, President and General Secretary Xi Jinping appears to see himself as the second coming of Mao Zedong and has been moving his country back toward the Chinese Communist Party’s totalitarian past. Doing so is creating plenty of enemies at home—popular dissatisfaction occasionally bursts forth on social media, as it did early in the COVID-19 pandemic after doctors were silenced for expressing their concerns. And Xi will not rule forever. He, like Mao, could be followed by a liberalizer, who would quickly dismantle Xi’s brutal edifice.

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Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored By The Intercept, by Glenn Greenwald

The following article prompted Glenn Greenwald’s resignation from The Intercept after it tried to censor the article. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

An attempt to assess the importance of the known evidence, and a critique of media lies to protect their favored candidate, could not be published at The Intercept

I am posting here the most recent draft of my article about Joe and Hunter Biden — the last one seen by Intercept editors before telling me that they refuse to publish it absent major structural changes involving the removal of all sections critical of Joe Biden, leaving only a narrow article critiquing media outlets. I will also, in a separate post, publish all communications I had with Intercept editors surrounding this article so you can see the censorship in action and, given the Intercept’s denials, decide for yourselves (this is the kind of transparency responsible journalists provide, and which the Intercept refuses to this day to provide regarding their conduct in the Reality Winner story). This draft obviously would have gone through one more round of proof-reading and editing by me — to shorten it, fix typos, etc — but it’s important for the integrity of the claims to publish the draft in unchanged form that Intercept editors last saw, and announced that they would not “edit” but completely gut as a condition to publication:

TITLE: THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS

Publication by the New York Post two weeks ago of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, relating to Vice President Joe Biden’s work in Ukraine, and subsequent articles from other outlets concerning the Biden family’s pursuit of business opportunities in China, provoked extraordinary efforts by a de facto union of media outlets, Silicon Valley giants and the intelligence community to suppress these stories.

One outcome is that the Biden campaign concluded, rationally, that there is no need for the front-running presidential candidate to address even the most basic and relevant questions raised by these materials. Rather than condemn Biden for ignoring these questions — the natural instinct of a healthy press when it comes to a presidential election — journalists have instead led the way in concocting excuses to justify his silence.

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‘You’re Gonna Bury All Of Us’: Whistleblower Describes Brazen Biden-China Dealings In Explosive Interview With Tucker Carlson, by Tyler Durden

In a just world, Tony Bobulinksi would testify at Joe’s and Hunter’s trial. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Former Biden insider Tony Bobulinski – a registered Democrat who’s donated to Democrats – just gave a smoking gun interview  to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, where he described his dealings with the Biden family in their bid to do business with China.

Bobulinski says that “Joe Biden and his family is compromised,” after describing dealings that included purchasing a portion of a Russian state-owned energy company.

In May, 2017, Bobulinski agreed to spearhead a deal between the Bidens and a CCP-linked Chinese company – meeting with Hunter Biden and Rosemont Seneca partner Rob Walker “multiple times,” and meeting with former Vice President Joe Biden twice.

Bobulinski described a May 2nd meeting at the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton with Hunter and Jim Biden. A short while later, Joe Biden reportedly showed up to the meeting “because they were sort of, wining and dining me, and presenting the strength of the Biden family to get me more engaged” in their China deal with CEFC “both in the United States and around the world.”

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‘Renminbi Diplomacy’: How China Bought The US Government? by Nauman Sadiq

The Chinese hasn’t bought the entire government, but it looks like they bought good old Joe Biden. From Nauman Sadiq at zerohedge.com:

In an explosive scoop, alternative news outlet Zero Hedge has laid bare how China’s state apparatchik clandestinely baited the family members of the Obama-era vice president and secretary of state into joint business ventures in order to surreptitiously influence the trade and economic policies of the US government favoring China’s geo-economic interests spanning the globe.

Here are a few relevant excerpts from the investigative report authored by Christopher Balding, Associate Professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business Shenzhen, China, and also a Bloomberg contributor:

Hunter Biden partnered with the Chinese state. Entire investment partnership is Chinese state money from social security fund to China Development Bank. It is actually a subsidiary of the Bank of China. This is not remotely anything less than a Chinese state-funded play.

Though the entire size of the fund cannot be reconstructed, the Taiwanese cofounder who is now detained in China, reports it to be NOT $1-1.5 billion but $6.5 billion. This would make Hunters stake worth at a minimum at least $50 million if he was to sell it.

“The believed Godfather arranging Hunter’s business ventures is a gentleman named Yang Jiechi. He is currently the CCP Director of Foreign Affairs leading strategist for America, Politburo member, one of the most powerful men in China, and Chinese President Xi Jingpin’s confidant.

“He met regularly with Joe Biden during his stint as Chinese ambassador the US when Biden chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Later he was Minister of Foreign Affairs when the investment partnership was made official in 2013.

“Hunter Biden’s 2013 Bohai Harvest Rosemont investment partnership was set-up by Ministry of Foreign Affairs institutions which are tasked with garnering influence with foreign leaders during Yang’s tenure as Foreign Minister.

“Hunter’s BHR stake (purchased for $400,000) is now likely be worth approx. $50 million (fees and capital appreciation based on BHR’s $6.5 billion AUM as stated by Michael Lin).

“Joe Biden’s foreign policy stance towards China (formerly hawkish), turned positive despite China’s country’s rising geopolitical assertiveness.”

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