Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times, Is the world’s center of gravity shifting to the heart of the Indo-Pacific – a new pivot to Asia? *** In the context of the New Great Game in Eurasia, the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), integrates all of China’s instruments of national power – political, economic, diplomatic, financial, intellectual and cultural – to shape the 21st century geopolitical/geoeconomic order. BRI is the organizing concept of China’s foreign policy for the foreseeable future; the heart of what was conceptualized, even before President Xi Jinping, as China’s ‘peaceful rise.’ The Trump administration’s reaction to the breath and scope of BRI has been somewhat minimalistic. For the moment, it amounts to a terminological switch from what was previously known as Asia-Pacific to ‘Indo-Pacific.’ The Obama administration, up to the former president’s last visit to Asia in September 2016, always referred to Asia-Pacific.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
Seemingly in capable of heeding Senator John McCain’s advice to stop whining and “just shut up,” failed US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed both U. S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in remarks via video to a conference in Beijing on Tuesday. *** As Bloomberg reports, Clinton said the Trump administration had retreated from diplomacy. She called on both the U. S. and China to avoid ‘bluster’ or ‘personal taunts’ in dealing with North Korea, and said the six-party talks on denuclearization should resume (which as a reminder is the process by which we have arrived here with Kim lobbing ICBMs across Japanese land and test-fiirng nukes). Perhaps Clinton’s $250,000 check did not clear, because in a somewhat unusual move, Clinton decided to tell the Chinese what to do too…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 27, 2017.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, After the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, one may discern Premier Xi Jinping’s vision of the emerging New World Order. By 2049, the centennial of the triumph of Communist Revolution, China shall have become the first power on earth. Her occupation and humiliation by the West and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries will have become hated but ancient history. America will have been pushed out of Asia and the western Pacific back beyond the second chain of islands.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.
Expensive Politics Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China. The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s 19th National Congress, where the current president Xi Jinping has cunningly positioned himself as China’s unchallenged leader. In an address at the opening of the Congress, Xi cautioned that the country faced ‘challenges’ that are ‘extremely grim’ yet, despite these, the nation’s future is ‘extremely bright.’* While Western politicos and pundits bemoan the lack of political pluralism that exists within China and President Trump complained about bad trade ‘deals,’ they miss an important factor as to why China has transformed itself from a socialist basket case some three decades ago into an economic powerhouse which now boasts over a third of the world’s billionaires (!).
This post was published at Acting-Man on November 15, 2017.
The 19th Party Congress has made it very clear that ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ – as codified by President Xi Jinping – is China’s road map ahead. Not only does the strategy graphically eschew those much-lauded ‘Western values’; it will, in Xi’s own words, offer ‘a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.’ Xinhua even dared to venture, ‘the 21st century is likely to see capitalism lose its appeal while the socialist movement, led by China, rapidly catches up’. To say this won’t go down very well in the West, especially in the US, may be the understatement of the century – even considering that the Chinese system is more like ‘neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics.’ It’s enlightening to crisscross what happened in Beijing with what was happening in Washington on the eve of President Trump’s trip to Asia, when he will visit China but also Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. Discussion of virtually all the key issues in Asia-Pacific will be on the table. Asia-Pacific is where the real action is – geopolitically and geoeconomically. And once again, the number one issue in the intractability stakes will be the DPRK.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 2, 2017.
It is hardly a secret that thanks to nearly $4 trillion (at least) in credit creation in 2017 – more than the rest of the developed world combined – China has been the proverbial (and debt-funded) “growth” dynamo behind the recent period of “coordinated global growth.” Unfortunately, much if not all of this was window dressing for the just concluded 19th Communist Party Congress, which in not so many words, made Xi Jinping into a de facto emperor with no apparent or otherwise heirs. The problem is that with the Congress now over, so is the period of coordinated global growth. Here’s why. As Citi writes, “China’s Party Congress has concluded and Xi Jinping’s position as President has been consolidated. Given there are no standing committee members in their 50s, it suggests there are no apparent heirs for Mr. Xi, opening the door for him to stay on beyond 2022. One of the key questions in the run up to the congress was that once power was consolidated, would China accelerate its economic reforms. We think this is unlikely but do expect a moderation of growth, with data momentum perhaps set to continue to slow at its current pace. Note how China’s MCI tends to lead Citi’s macro data index for China and our MCI is still tightening.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 27, 2017.
China’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party is garnering a lot of attention right now, and rightly so. In a speech during the opening ceremony of the conference, President Xi Jinping heralded the beginning of a new era in China, but he was also surprisingly honest about the inadequacy of his first term. Although the congress will continue into this week – there are still important things to be decided, chief among them whether Xi will anoint a successor, as is tradition in China, or whether he will continue to rule as dictator in perpetuity – most of the major events have already taken place. Much of Asia had been in something of a holding pattern in the lead-up to the congress. But now, that holding pattern is over, and we can look ahead to some key events in the region that will reverberate throughout the world in the weeks to come. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition decisively won another term in elections over the weekend. It is a remarkable political comeback for Abe, who gambled that he could overcome some of the scandals dogging his regime and win another mandate, allowing him to continue his economic reforms and to push the country toward the controversial step of revising its pacifist constitution.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission. I really don’t think people quite understand just how much trouble China is in right now. That’s no mystery because in the Western media the Chinese economy is almost always described as somewhere between awesome and magnificent (only slight hyperbole). Their government, on the other hand, is not fooled. General Secretary Xi Jinping opened the Communist Party’s 19th Congress with an amazing speech. It wasn’t amazing in the respect of soaring rhetoric announcing some actual, concrete commitment to freedom and free markets; it was instead the opening bell for, I think, a very different world outlook. I write for my column tomorrow that it was in some cursory way reminiscent of the Trump candidacy. On the surface, it almost seemed as if Xi Jinping was channeling Donald Trump. Opening China’s 19th Party Congress this week, the Communist General Secretary of that Congress talked a lot about ‘rejuvenation.’ The word recalled the 2016 US Presidential campaign and the Republican’s promise to ‘make America great again.’
Xi Jinping delivered a three and a half-hour speech at the opening of China’s 19th Party Congress, the once in five years mega-Communist Party gathering (previewed here), to herald a ‘new era’ of power (a term he used 36 times), consolidating his position as perhaps the most influential Chinese leader in decades. While he did lay out guidelines to develop China in this ‘new era’, bottom line: Heavy in superlatives, light on specifics. It was the year’s most carefully politically-staged global event, best understood by the related trivia gleaned from party officials. The drafting process involves 4,700 individuals, 59 organisations, reports from 25 think tanks, nine research committees and 6 discussion forums, hosted by Xi, to hear suggestions. Xi walked into the Great Hall of the people to marching band music with delegates clapping in time. When highlighted the role of Marxism in 21st century China, he was greeted by lots of applause from delegates.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 18, 2017.
Nearly two years after the historic, and still mysterious “Shanghai Accord” which in early 2016 halted what at the time appeared to a global collapse in capital markets courtesy of what appears to have been unprecedented political, fiscal and monetary coordination between the developed world and China, on October 18 the world turns its attention to what is arguably the most important political event of the year, and the logical conclusion to the stabilization process which started with the Accord, when the Chinese Communist Party kicks off its 19th Party Congress, the political event that will determine the country’s leadership lineup and policy priorities for the next five years. Given the emphasis on maintaining stability in the run-up to this pivotal political transition, what the Congress will mean for China’s economy, its markets, and its place in the world is why Goldman has dedicated its latest “Top of Mind” periodical to the Congress, with editor Allison Nathan asking two experts on Chinese politics how Xi Jinping – who is already widely regarded as the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong – can use the reshuffle to further consolidate power. And, more importantly, what he intends to do with it: pursue economic reforms more aggressively or maintain the status quo. Specifically, five of seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) – the senior-most CCP leadership – are expected to turn over, as is about half of the Politburo, the 25-member decision-making body that sits just below the PSC. To explore these issues, Goldman sat down with two Chinese political experts, David Shambaugh of the George Washington University and Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Both anticipate the Congress will cement Xi Jinping’s absolute authority over the CCP and the country. And both raise the possibility that Xi could be paving the way to stay in power beyond two terms, in a break with historical norms. However, Shambaugh and Lam view Xi as a visionary, not a reformist. They believe his overriding goal is to strengthen and perpetuate CCP rule, with no tolerance for policies that could destabilize the political order. (Lam argues, for example, that Xi is determined to avoid the political self-criticism that he believes brought down the USSR.) As such, both experts see only limited prospects for economic reform. But one possibility to watch: a potential reshuffling involving the role of premier that might signal a more aggressive reform stance.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 15, 2017.
The most important event in China in five years is about to take place, and Beijing isn’t taking any chances. Ahead of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress – an event so massive that according to Bloomberg “nothing escapes its pull” – which is slated to start on October 18 in Beijing, regulators have made it clear to the nation’s top brokers, bankers and financiers that they don’t want to see any major turbulence in markets. In a repeat of the fiasco that followed the bursting of China’s equity bubble in the summer of 2015 when Beijing effectively nationalized the stock market, and went so far as to throw prominent hedge fund managers and assorted “speculators” in prison, the China Securities Regulatory Commission has ordered local brokerages to “mitigate risks” and ensure stable markets before and during the Communist Party’s leadership congress next month, according to Bloomberg. Additionally, to leave virtually nothing to chance – and to have ready scapegoats in case someone does in fact sell – the CSRC also banned brokerage bosses from taking holidays or leaving the country from Oct. 11 until the congress ends. Brokerage bosses were told to avoid travel of any kind from Oct. 11 until the congress ends, including business trips. Luckily for them, China’s national day holidays are coming up in the first week of October. Local markets will be shut for an entire week, providing plenty of time to recharge for the congress. Since the congress, which is expected to replace about half of China’s top leadership, is of paramount importance to President Xi Jinping who will use it as a foundation to cement his influence into the next decade, nothing is allowed to spoil the optics of supreme control at this critical moment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 17, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Eminent author and filmaker, John Pilger speaks to RT about the ratcheting up of tensions between the US and North Korea, led, of course, by the US and its vassal states in the EU. In the last two days, the UN Security Council imposed the harshest-ever sanctions againstNorth Korea. These sanctions restricted North Korea’s oil imports and banned textile exports, all an attempt to severely inhibit the recalcitrant nation’s defensive nuclear and ballistic missile capability and to increase pressure to bring DPRK supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, to the negotiating table with the US. ‘Today, we are attempting to take the future of the North Korean nuclear program out of the hands of its outlaw regime,’ said Nikki Haley, the U. S. ambassador to the United Nations. ‘Today, we are saying the world will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,’ she added. ‘And today the Security Council is saying if North Korea does not halt its nuclear program, we will act to stop it ourselves.’ Russia’s President Putin had previously made it clear that North Korea would not bow to such pressure: ‘They would rather eat grass but will not give up the [nuclear] program if they do not feel safe,’ In an article written in April 2017, John Pilger, expressed fears regarding the escalation of military conflict by the Trump administration: ‘The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force. When Donald Trump launched his missile attack on Syria – following his bombing of a mosque and a school – he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping.
Just over a week after North Korea’s test of a nuclear device, the United States has secured a fresh set of UN sanctions against the country. The speed with which the United Nations Security Council adopted these measures is unprecedented – sanctions on North Korea ordinarily take weeks of back and forth with China, North Korea’s main defender, as well as consultations with Russia. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley even thanked China, in particular, Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new UN sanctions will bite deeper into the North Korean economy than those past, but fall short of the sweeping measures included in a version leaked Sept. 7. That draft included a full ban on a range of oil products sold to North Korea, a freeze on the assets and travel of top North Korean leaders – including Kim Jong Un – as well blacklisting military-controlled airline Air Koryo. These broad measures – particularly the oil embargo – were unpalatable for both China and Russia, neither of which wants to see North Korea collapse. Negotiations toward the end of the week led to a second draft of the resolution, circulated Sept. 10.
Shortly after North Korea conducted what’s believed to be its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb (and its sixth nuclear test in total), China’s Nuclear Safety Administration said on Sunday that it would begin emergency monitoring for radiation along its northeastern border with North Korea, according to Reuters. *** The emergency response was set at ‘level 2,’ the second-highest grade on a four-tier system, according to the Times of Japan. The NSA did not indicate whether any radiation had been detected. ”At present, the automatic radiation monitoring stations in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and Shandong are functioning properly,’ Xinhua reported, citing the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which administers the safety agency.’ Earlier in the day, the presidents of China and Russia agreed to ‘appropriately deal with’ North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test, according to the South China Morning Post. Beijing strongly condemned Pyongyang’s actions and threatened to work with the United Nation’s Security Council to add sanctions. The agreement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday night in Xiamen, Fujian province, ahead of Monday’s BRICS leaders’ summit, according to the SCMP.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 3, 2017.
As if there weren’t enough geopolitical stress points in the world to fill a lifetime of “sleepy, vacationy” Augusts, late on Friday night President Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and told him that he’s preparing to order an investigation into Chinese trade practices next week, according to NBC. Politico confirms that Trump is ready to launch a new trade crackdown on China next week, citing an administration official, a step that Trump delayed two weeks ago under the guidance of his new Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly, but now appears imminent. It is also an escalation which most analysts agree will launch a trade war between Washington and Beijing. As Politico details, Trump on Monday will call for an investigation into China over allegations that the nation violated U. S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, the official said. While it’s unclear how much detail Trump will get into in the announcement, administration officials expect U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The ordering of the investigation will not immediately impose sanctions but could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has expressed frustration in recent months over what he sees as China’s unfair trade policies. As we discussed two weeks ago, Trump had planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China’s support for expanded U. N. sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden /Aug 12, 2017.
As part of the People’s Liberation Army’s 90th anniversary celebration – it was founded on August 1, 1927 – President Xi Jinping (in military fatigues) hosted a giant parade at the Zhurihe Training Center. *** Zhurihe – Zhurihe certainly has enough room to hold all the people and equipment for a parade with thousands of soldiers, hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles, and dozens of ICBMs. -Xinhua News Agency Here, PLA’s most elite forces demonstrated how far China has come in modern warfare. CCTV broadcast the session, which means a domestic and global audience of millions saw the army’s showcase of tanks, stealth fighters, artillery, and ICBMs.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 8, 2017.
Winnie the Pooh has been censored on Chinese social media, thanks to the comparisons on memes between the communist country’s president, Xi Jinping, and the cartoon bear. The first time Winnie the Pooh grabbed the attention of the communist party’s censorship in China was in 2013 when memes compared the characters in the cartoon to former president Barack Obama, and Xi Jinping. Censorship has proven to be an effective propaganda arm of totalitarian regimes, but it isn’t limited to China. Left-leaning media in the United States has even claimed recently that ‘alt-right memes’ will be the downfall of democracy.
If there was any confusion whether in addition to Moscow, Beijing was also behind Assad, today all doubts were laid to rest when both Russia and China called on all involved parties “to support the efforts of the OPCW and the United Nations in investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria,” according to a joint statement by Russian and Chinese leaders on the current international situation posted on Kremlin website on Tuesday, following a meeting between Putin and China’s president Xi Jinping. “The sides emphasize that in matters of chemical weapons in Syria, all parties, with respect to Syrian sovereignty, must support the efforts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons [OPCW] and relevant UN structures to conduct an independent and comprehensive investigation in order to obtain irrefutable evidence, establish genuine circumstances and draw conclusions that are capable of withstanding the verification by facts and time.” Additionally, in the document Russia and China both “strongly condemn any use of chemical weapons anywhere and by anyone.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 4, 2017.
Ahead of this week’s G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Donald Trump called the leaders of China and Japan to discuss the “threat posed by North Korea’, along with trade issues, the White House said on Sunday. Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose LDP had just suffered a devastating loss in the Tokyo Assembly elections, and according to the White House read out, “both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula” adding that “President Trump reiterated his determination to seek more balanced trade relations with America’s trading partners.” The terse statement did not provide further details of the call or say if Trump managed to persuade Xi to endorse his approach of exerting maximum pressure on North Korea, including a slew of further economic and trade sanctions. According to Reuters, the call may have been prompted by Trump increasing frustration with China’s inability to rein in North Korea, and the reference to trade was an indication the president may be ready to return to his tougher-talking ways on business with Beijing after holding back in hopes it would put more pressure on Pyongyang. Trump and Xi discussed the “peace and stability of the Korean peninsula”, China’s Foreign Ministry said, without elaborating.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 3, 2017.
Trump’s “up and down” relationship with China may be on the precipice of taking a sharp dive into the proverbial abyss. After frequently threatening to label China a “currency manipulator” on the campaign trail last year, Trump’s relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping took a decided turn for the better after a meeting at Mar-a-Lago in which China vowed to help address the “menace of North Korea” . I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U. S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 1, 2017.