Monday, September 12, 2005

KNOCK-KNOCK, HU'S THERE?

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Hu in Mexico now.

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Hu has been knocking about the planet on carefully prearranged trips. He has come with a briefcase stuffed with papers to sign and is successfully closing many important deals. His latest trip has been to solidify China's relations and influences with two important future allies: Canada and Mexico.

Our neighbors and two major borders. This is a classic Go game move. Our main body of stones are now flanked on both sides with increasingly hostile stones. If we try to "flip" them we can go down in ruins. We have stones crimping China: Japan and Taiwan. We used to have South Korea, too, but have rapidly lost influence over them and now they are very questionable.

From Xinhuanet:
During his visit, President Hu will exchange views with his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox, and other Mexican leaders on bilateral relations and international and regional issues.

The two countries are also expected to sign a number of cooperation documents during Hu's visit.

Since the two countries established diplomatic relations 33 years ago, bilateral relations have developed smoothly and cooperation has yielded fruitful results in various sectors.

Bilateral trade exceeded 7 billion US dollars in 2004, 44 percent higher than the previous year, and China's investment in Mexico has risen to nearly 200 million dollars.

In an interview last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said that as developing countries, China and Mexico sharemany common interests in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

The Chinese president's visit to Mexico will help push forward the bilateral strategic partnership and promote cooperation between China and Latin America as well as the unity and coordination between developing countries, he said.
I like reading diplomatic stories. If I had to read American ones, I would go insane since most of them are a chronicle of our blundering blunderbuss approach to getting our way which seems more and more desperate. Just this week, in preparation for the UN celebrations of their founding, Bush is busy begging Blair to help him in his PR disaster called "Hurricane Brownie." Maybe Bush can get Hu to help him, too. Hu is meeting with him. The Chinese have prepared for this by sending a top diplomat to meet quietly and secretly with Bush Sr. in Maine last month. Now they lick their chops, seeing a fatally damaged President as the person they get to dissect at their leisure.

Unlike the American diplomatic corp which is a corrupt corpse, the Chinese actually have a school devoted to creating and grooming and training professional diplomats and this shows, hugely, by their smooth functioning foreign affairs division. We can see the difference thanks to our diplomatic disasters. Simple bad taste can cause serious problems. Having mostly flunkies and political money bag men run our diplomatic missions is a pure, rancid disaster. Like FEMA, they can't cope and they can't perform.

So it is time to meet the man the reformers of the Chinese communist party put in charge of the diplomatic machine: Dr. Wu. I happen to know him, he knows my dad. One day, my mom sent me a post card complaining about things in China. I immediately got on the phone to investigate and was told to talk to Dr. Wu. Unfortunately, I wasn't given his second name. There are a million Wus in China! Nor did anyone tell me how high he was in the hierarchy. So I got in increasing arguments that went like this, "I want to talk to Dr. Wu."

"Who is that?"

"Dr. Wu."

"There are many Doctors named Wu."

Finally, I called the daughter of the head of Asian Studies at Harvard, a friend of mine and she got her dad to call China for me and since he spoke Chinese and knew some of the people involved, he found Dr. Wu for me at a last and I told him about my mom's unhappiness and he instantly moved heaven and earth to please my parents. A powerful man. Very pleasant (I was rather upset at the time and he was very nice to me). My mom said, when I reached her at last, "What took you so long?"

Sigh.

Wu has been in the news in China and we better read and think about what he is saying. From China Economics:
China's diplomacy has now entered a golden age, said President of China Foreign Affairs University Wu Jianmin here on Saturday.Wu, a senior diplomat, told Xinhua on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university that China's diplomacy is becoming more and more active these years.

"The diplomatic golden age means that China had never developed its foreign relations as extensively as in these years," he said, explaining that the number of countries establishing diplomatic ties with China has increased from around 60 in 1971 to more than 160 presently. Late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in the 1960s could only visit Asia and Africa, but now Chinese leaders could visit almost everywhere all over the world, he added.
My parents knew Zhou Enlai very well. His movements were restricted by Chinese politics as well as blindness to what was really going on in the world. Oh, I have so many stories about him that aren't in any books! Will write about them in the future. So many! Most illustrate how insane China had become under Mao. He was a very intelligent man who worked for a very toxic dictator. Sad.
"It proves that China has opened up to the outside world in a broad manner, and it has developed very close ties with the rest of the world," said Wu.

Wu, who is also president of the International Exhibitions Bureau and vice chairman of the Subcommittee of Foreign Affairs ofthe Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, said the "diplomatic golden age" also indicates that foreign relations have never been so important to China as they are today.

"China and its external world have never influenced each other so much as today," he said. In the old days, China's domestic affairs had little impact on the world, but now everything has changed. "The whole world is watching China closely as the exchange rate of RMB (the Chinese currency) was adjusted."
Actually, if you want to take the long view, which I do, one has to remark that China did heavily impact the world in the past, like when the Mongols took over.

"The increasingly active diplomatic maneuvers have made unprecedented contribution to China's rising influence in today's world," Wu said, noting that China's diplomacy not only helps create a peaceful and stable environment for the country's development, but also provides a powerful support for the country's economic growth.

The 66-year-old Wu used to be Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman and ambassador to the Netherlands and France. The seniordiplomat said China's diplomacy is changing from a passive style to an active style, which means that China is taking more initiative in its diplomatic efforts instead of only making passive responses.

Under China's active mediation, the six-part talks on the Korean nuclear issue, aimed at realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, have been held for four rounds in Beijing since August 2003, and will see the start of the second phase of the fourth round on Sept. 13. China's painstaking efforts to push forward the process have been praised by the international community and all concerned parties, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan.

"The world could feel the positive efforts made by China for the regional and global peace and stability, and could realize howimportant China is in the international affairs," Wu noted.

China's active diplomacy has resulted from its rising national strength, Wu said, noting that China's voice is needed in international affairs.
Here is an interesting interview with Dr. Wu. From Newsweek:
What should the world make of China's expanding global influence?

The Chinese are not interested in domination. The Chinese do not seek hegemony. Yes, China is growing very rapidly. [But] we have a long way to go. Also, you know, we have the Chinese saying: "When you reach the top you feel lonely and cold." [Laughs] We Chinese, we like company. We like to share.
The Chinese, old hands at running empires, they pretty much invented all the more modern tools for running empires like paper money and scientifically organized bureauocracies and civil tests for candidates to work for the empire, etc. They know that running a smooth empire by using force drains the treasury and destroys the power to entice and getting people to cooperate voluntarily is much easier than chaining them up...the Romans understood this, too, and fell apart when they had to tax everyone ruthlessly. This kills many empires...ruthless taxes for endless insurrection supression leads to more insurrections..
But you're now the second or third largest consumer of almost every commodity in the world—oil, natural gas. Isn't this going to shake things up?

Yes; we are going to shake things—but there are two ways to do it. The first is by force; the second, in a peaceful way... We Chinese, we like to take the second approach. Why? The world is changing. Fifty-five years ago, when things went wrong in your country we were happy because we fought each other in Korea. Thirty years ago, whatever happened to the U.S. economy did not have any impact on [our] economy. But today, if things go wrong, if your economy is in bad shape, we are sorry about that. There's a growing interdependence between China and the United States.
The Chinese would far prefer to pick more fruit from our tree. They don't want to chop it down. They won't stop us from chopping down our own cherry tree. They will sigh and pick up the branches and use them for firewood.
Many Americans worry there is a danger that China will use the fact that it holds so many U.S. Treasury bills as leverage in some geo-political issue. Could this happen?

I don't think so. We bought a lot T-bonds because it's a way to keep our foreign currency reserves. It's good for China, it's good for the United States. China will not use it as a leverage against the United States. Confucius said 2,500 years ago, "Peace is something most precious." I think [we] will stick to that tradition.
Hahahahaha. The smooth liar. As we lose leverage all over the planet and have to resort more and more to force and supression, they will shake their heads and yank on the noose around our necks. Ever see a dog on a choke chain, strangling itself as it tries to surge ahead? Welcome to modern America!
In the 21st century China and Japan will both be great powers, occupying the same stage and the same continent. Is there a danger of conflict?

I think it depends on how you cope with it. Japanese political figures keep paying visits to war criminals [memorialized at the Yasukuni shrine]. Those criminals were responsible for killing millions and millions of Asians, but still political figures go to the temple to honor their memory. It's outrageous. Of course the Chinese are angry. Japan [wants] to have a permanent seat within the Security Council—fine, we understand, but the United Nations was founded on peace. We defeated Fascists from Germany, from Italy and from Japan. But today, if the political figures of Japan continue to honor the memory of war criminals—how can you explain it? We simply don't understand it. [But] are we going to have head-on confrontation? No. There's a growing [economic] interdependence between Japan and China.
Japan is a declining power. Declining vis a vis China and all of Asia. They are utterly dependent on the American market for profits. America goes down, Japan sinks too. They have a child deficit from hell. Only Italy is worse. They are not having babies, the countryside has been utterly denuded of young people, the few left fleeing to Tokyo. And to destroy Japan's "power" takes exactly one, yes, one nuke. So it isn't strong on nearly any level. It only has commerce and this depends on others remaining peaceful and solvent.
Is there a real danger of China using military force to reunify the mainland with Taiwan?

China will use force as a last resort. No country in the world tolerates the separation of [a] territory from the motherland. Taiwan is a part of China. In Taiwan, there are secessionist forces [that] would like to separate Taiwan from China. We will not tolerate [that].

[But] I hope that we can achieve a peaceful solution... [Laughs] Peaceful reunification of the motherland.
He laughs. Hahaha. Of course, he can afford to laugh. China already won this fight. After all, America is begging at Beijing's gates today.
Which would happen with the consent of the Taiwanese people?

I believe so, because we're not achieving it without their consent.
Yes, the consent of the people. Again, they want the cherry tree bearing fruit, not a pile of firewood. War turns nations into burning piles of wood. Not good for business, no?

This is why they will spare us just as we spared the Soviet Union when it fell into ruin! But we, like the Soviets, will have to pull in our spending tremendously, cut back on the military by about 80% and abandon all our planetary bases. Period. And sell much of it to the Chinese who will, I assure you, enforce peace carefully. They hate war. They always hated war. They always wanted smoothly running, quiet empires.

In closing, here is Dr. Wu again: From Middle Eastern Quarterly:
China's Middle East policy is undergoing a major shift. Traditionally, Beijing considered the region too distant for significant investment and instead limited its efforts to convincing Arab capitals to sever their ties to Taiwan and establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic.[1] Beijing's first diplomatic victory in the Arab world was the formal establishment of relations with Egypt in 1956. The Chinese Foreign Ministry completed its mission of establishing ties to each Arab country when China and Saudi Arabia exchanged ambassadors in 1990. With China's economic boom, though, Beijing's Middle East policy has taken on new importance. While Washington's Middle East policy has traditionally been activist, Beijing's policy was more restrained. But Chinese passivity in the region may end in coming years, as the Chinese government's need to achieve energy security forces a more active policy.
The article goes into how unhappy the Chinese are with the Israelis for screwing up the military stuff, after all, who else can openly spy on the Pentagon and even use top Pentagon authorities with impunity and no punishment than Israel? And they pass on to whoever gives them the money and power. Ahem.

But caught up in a major spy scandal, they shut down the transfer of information and equipment to the Chinese who are now ticked off and punishing Israel.
Although the changes are "slow and subtle,"[33] China's foreign policy is undergoing transformation. When interviewed by the Zhongguo Qingnian Bao(China Youth Daily), one of China's leading newspapers, Wu Jianmin, former Chinese ambassador to France and currently president of the China Foreign Affairs University, said that China's diplomacy is transforming from "responsive diplomacy" (fanying shi wwaijiao) to "proactive diplomacy" (zhudong shi waijiao)."[34] American scholars have made similar observations.[35]

The age of Chinese passivity in the Middle East is over. Beijing will play an increasingly active role in the region with the goal of securing its own energy security. This does not mean that Chinese and American policies will necessarily be at odds. Beijing understands and, indeed, shares U.S. concerns regarding proliferation and terrorism. Just as Washington seeks to maintain good relations with both the Arab world and Israel, so too will Beijing.

There will be differences of opinion, however. While Beijing supports Arab domestic reform, consistent with its opposition to unilateral action, the Chinese government will strongly oppose any outside attempts to impose reform. China's stance is closely linked to its sentiment of national sovereignty and its up-to-now successful experience of reform. Only through candid dialogue can better policy coordination be achieved. But Washington would be mistaken if it expects that Beijing will placidly revert to its past passivity. China's new activism is a reflection of Chinese interests—especially in the energy sector. Beijing and Washington can work together. But if U.S. strategic calculations in the Middle East do not take Chinese interests in consideration, there will be conflict.
The Chinese want to have at least 24%+ of all world resources. They will allow us to try to squeeze everyone else so we can consume the 30% that we now use but this is rather unlikely because we are doing this on their dime.

So we will kiss our culture goodby and prepare to live like China lives today. If we are lucky, that is.

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