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Africa: Current Intellectual Property Systems Marginalise Continent – Tumelo – This article deals with the need for better a better market regulatory infrastructure for the continent. I like the emphasis placed on African solutions to these problems and not just copying the West. Japan created a system based on Western capitalism but with specific Japanese characteristics that proved exportable to other nations in the region like South Korea and to a less extent Taiwan. Africa also should be encouraged to undertake such innovation for issues specific to the continent.

Ma promises 100 years of peace and prosperity – Ma’s using the boost from the Legislative victory of his party to help him campaign for the office of president.  He sounds even more arrogant than before. (sigh)

Why Europe should thank China – An interesting article on why the EU should THANK China for their dollar peg on the yuan. Strictly going by the article, I guess the judgment should be based on what how does the long term and short term benefit stack up when comparing advantages and disadvantages of a strong euro to USD relationship. The article does not address this. The conclusion is the EU gets “some benefit”, so suck up the cost and just reduce the overhead on your exports. LOL, easier said than done.

Chinese sub, Kitty Hawk in standoff – More “war games” in the Taiwan Strait. I wonder why China is getting provocative all the sudden or is it they are just testing new equipment in realistic scenarios?

China Will Make Hong Kong Wait to Elect LeaderTold ya so.

One Test and 600,000 Destinies in South Africa – This is similar to how things are done in many nations in Europe as well as Japan, South Korea, and China. I wish we would adopt this system of education  in the United States. It would never work as parents would have a fit when some school informs them there child is not “college material”. There will be law suits, arguments of discrimination, different “forms of intelligence”, etc.  Going back to S.A.’s test.  They mention that the % passed has steadily decreased over the last 5 years, but due to shoddy reporting we do not know if this is because more people talking the test than before.  The less “elite” the background of the test takers the more likely the average will drop.  In any case, it sounds like S.A. is heading in the right direction, but there are still problems of inequality based along class/racial lines, which exist in every society, but in S.A. this is critical as the imbalance is extreme.

The African Front – A long, but interesting article of how modernity and Islam mix in Kenya.

Govt to keep ‘hooligans’ away from G-8 summit – Always vigilant, Japan is taking steps to prevent barbaric foreigners, and locals who have fell under their spell, from disturbing Japanese societal harmony and making Japan lose face before foreign guest. LOL

Offering viable options for the future of Japanese society – An interesting editorial concerning the current political dynamic in the Japanese Diet.  It includes summaries of the current problems facing Japan in the way of budget, tax reform, defense concerns, foreign relations, and the environment. 

Does China have fuels reserves for Taiwan Attack? – Thought provoking post from good natured sinophobe Michale Turton. 🙂  It appears that China could sustain an attack on Taiwan for no more than 15 days.  I would imagine that China would just need to get immediate air superiority and then blockade Taiwan.  Trying to “take” the island would be a fool errand.  China does not have the force projection to occupy the island without extreme casualties on China’s side.  Then again I would not put “human wave” tactics above China, not even the 2008 incarnation of the CCP.  At that point, if they lose, the loss of face with be so bad it could likely end the CCP and lead to civil war.  No I’m not joking, it is that serious.  The CCP can not afford a loss of face that big at this point; on top of the economic penalties it would  bring to China in the short term.

Kenya: Charity Begins At Home for Top Contenders – The article talks about how each presidential candidate is leading in his home province, largely due to tribal ties. 

Japan infuriated by China’s deletions from joint press communique – This is not the way for China to build goodwill.  When I read things like that I question the ability of the CCP elites to really understand the outside world.

Rising inflation forces banks into a corner – Vietnam is having some serious inflation issues, again.

Japanese studies facing the chop in Europe –  This is very sad to read but inevitable.  What this article should say is, “Japanese studies faced with popularity of Chinese studies, get the chop in Europe.”  Japan is not doing enough to stay relevant internationally.  They are the second wealthiest nation in the world with a lot of great qualities and they are fairly isolationist and timid.  That has to change if they they do not want China to run all over them in Asia and make them a larger outsider than they are, with Washington being their only real friend.  China is quickly surpassing Japan as the “sexy Asian country” because Japan allows it.

(LEAD) Front-runner Lee Myung-bak eyes landslide win – ’nuff said.   He is conservative, expecting to take a harder line on North Korea, but still favors engagement.  He is pro-free market.  Lee was born in Japan and he and his family moved back to Korea after WWII.  He grew up dirty-poor, but worked his way up.  He also has a history of being anti-Japanese, but then again, that is not going to hurt him in S.Korea, it makes him “normal”.

Train in vain – The Shanhaiist has a report on China’s evolving train system. Hell it is becoming more modern than what you can find in the United States. I would think they are aiming for a German or Japanese style system. I have road a bullet train in Japan, very smooth and comfortable ride. If the Chinese trains are comparable that is a great improvement to the ones I took while in China. I would love to ride a maglev.

EU, African leaders wrap up meet that exposed faultlines– Most of this seemed to center around criticism of two nations out of 53, instead of focusing on how to lift up the majority. It would be similar ot having a Pan-European conference with the United States and American focusing only on backward nations like Belarus and Serbia. How about focusing on business? Mbeki was right when he spoke of the central problem being “resources”. I’m not fan of Mugabe and definitely not of Al-Bashir, but those issues should be handled in another forum. This should be focused on African uplift. Sudan and Zimbabwe have little to do with what is going on in 90% of the other nations on the continent. Actually besides Sudan, Zimbabwe has absolutely nothing to do with anything happening anywhere else but for refugees going to South Africa.

Japan executes three prisoners, disclosing names and details for first time – I like Japanese executions because they are secret, no one knows when it is going to happen, not even the families. There is definitely not time to protest. Compared to America, Japan rarely has any executions and not much of a death row, murder is just not as common.

Japan’s crown princess turns 44, still suffering stress disorder– The media needs to leave Masako-sama alone, they have about driven her crazy since before she had her daughter.

Ang Lee’s spy thriller ‘Lust, Caution’ dominates Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards – Oh, I will definitely be watching “Lust Caution“, mainly because it is being lauded as a breakthrough in Chinese film and Tang Wei is hot.

Africa: Baroness Amos of Brondesbury, Valerie Ann Amos – Here is an interesting interview with Baroness Amos, ahead of the Africa-EU Summit. She was chosen to represent the UK. For those that do not know, the Baroness is black and was born in Guyana.

France tried to do this two years ago, but there was so much pressure by the U.S. and the UK on the EU that it was pushed back. Now this issue raises its head again. Neo-cons in the Beltway (Washington DC) were especially irate, especially David Shambaugh, who accused the EU of trying to create an axis with China to help contain the United States, due to the “Transatlantic Rift” that developed over Iraq and other issues of contention.  Most neo-cons blamed the French, as usual.  You would think we were in a near Cold War situation with the French before Sarkozy was elected,  if you talked to a neo-con.

Some of this is about making good will with China, something which Sarkozy seems keen on,  but it is also economics.  France is the 4th largest arms dealer in the world, after the U.S., Russia, and Germany.  I’m sure this new push is not making the Washington or Tokyo very happy.

This embargo was placed on China after Tiananmen, back in 1989, almost 20 years ago.  China does buy weapons from the EU all the time, but certain higher level technolgies are off limits.
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France calls for lifting of arms sales ban on China

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-12-05 11:32
PARIS — France renewed its call for lifting the EU arms embargo against China on Tuesday, saying the punitive measure has long become obsolete and unable to reflect the current relationship between the European bloc and China.

The recall was made at a joint press conference by the French Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry on the country’s arms export in 2006, which hit 4.03 billion euros (5.96 billion US dollars), the fourth largest after the United States, Russia and Britain.

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China to launch manned spacecraft Shenzhou VII in 2008 – China will embark on another maned space mission.

Japan corporate profits fall – More Japanese bi-polar economics.  Well despite Japan’s ups and downs over the last 15 years, they are still the second largest economy in the world, that says a lot considering growth rates have been fairly low since the early 1990’s.

China rejects accusation of hacker activities – Who is naive enough to think that Britain and the U.S. do not routinely spy on China? It goes both ways, Chinese were just not sneaky enough to get caught. In Chinese culture, denying the obvious seems to be a sign of strength though, so do not expect any admission of this coming from Zhongnanhai (中南海).

Japanese inmates claim prison doctor abused them, sparking riot – The only reason I’m posting this is that riots in Japan are so unusual.  I’m not shocked that a doctor treated prisoners harshly, most Japanese have a very negative opinion of criminals, as people who are the ultimate non-conformers and violators of group ism. Prisons in Japan are run like military academies and prisoners are often abused (by Western standards), but then again Japan has one of the smallest prison populations of any industrialized country, Confucianist-based groupism has its benefits.  What is surprising is that the prisoners rioted over it.

In search of illumination: Chinese companies expand overseas – Great article on Chinese Business.  Unlike Japan, Inc., China, Inc. consists mostly of loosely organized State Owned Enterprises expanding into markets that will allow them to acquire natural resources.  It seems Beijing is still trying to figure out how to invest its surplus cash, and the companies are trying to gain experience in multinational business dealings.

African states refuse to join EU trade deal – Good for South Africa and Nambia, that deal with B.S.:

The two states said they had refused to join the economic partnership agreements principally to avoid being bound into guaranteeing the EU equal terms to any bilateral trade deals negotiated with other parties in the future.

That is very unfair, but this is what developing nations go through all the time, because they have little leverage.

 

I guess this thread can be called the “Chinese Story”, as the source of my comments will be the People’s Daily (CCP Mouthpiece).   I feel it is important to get multiple sides, and too often we only get one, the Western side…the liberal one at that. 

Yesterday we left off with Wu Yi being annoyed with some opening statements from the EU.  Today we have some remarks from President Hu, on his “immediate priorities” and then a more detailed  outline for the future proposed by Wen Jiabao.

The first priority is to strengthen strategic mutual trust, be aware of the general situation and grasp the future.
Hu hoped that China and the EU should keep close high-level contacts and make full use of the multi-level political dialogue and consultation mechanisms established between them to strengthen communication and coordination on major international or regional issues as well as other key issues concerning their immediate interests.

The second priority is to expand pragmatic cooperation and realize mutual benefit, win-win and common development.

Hu said both China and EU should fully explore the potential, actively look for new opportunities for cooperation, further enhance bilateral exchanges and collaboration in all areas, and jointly face up to global challenges including climate change, energy security and environmental protection.

The third priority is that China and EU should, in the spirit of mutual respect and negotiation on an equal footing, properly handle new circumstances and problems emerging from the development of bilateral ties so as to expand common ground, narrow discord and create a much better internal and external environment for further pushing forward the China-EU all-round strategic partnership.

My interpretation of the “diplomatese” is that Hu’s priorities are centered around focusing on business, meaning, he wants to focus on a strong pragmatic bilateral relationship based on mutual economic benefit, not an ideological one. Hu does not want the EU talking down to China on issues of human rights or militarism. He wants China to be respected as an equal partner on a global level. Good luck with that Hu. Unlike you, the heads of state of the various EU countries have to answer to a very liberal public who care little about economics until their pocket book gets hurt and pay a lot of lip service to “human rights”.

As far as the Future Strategic Partnership, Wen Jiabao fleshed out a more detailed proposal.

China wants to expand trade with the EU and deal with any problems with direct high-level bilateral talks, both formal and informal.  This would be based on relationship building fostered by a new Trade and Economic Agreement (first update in over 12 years).  He also proposed specific working groups for “China-EU sci-tech cooperation and sign educational exchanges and cooperation agreement as soon as possible, implement the working plan on cultural dialogue and cooperation, and strengthen practical cooperation in the fields of climate change, energy and environmental protection. ”

Wen also stated that China would “continue” to open up their market to foreign competition as agreed to during WTO ascension.

The EU, in return praised China’s work on the N.Korea and Iranian Nuclear Issues and reaffirmed the One-China (Screw Taiwan) Policy. 🙂

I think the EU was making their position clear on China’s currency before the talks began, as I commented on here. The other issues are the EU trade deficit ($252 billion USD), and product safety.  The EU is claiming China’s currency is about 20-25% undervalued in relation to the Euro.  As I said before, if they think China is going to budge significantly on this issue as inflation is already increasing there, forget it.   

 The Financial Times has a more detailed article, that speaks more about the China-EU relationship outside of sheer economic terms. For instance example:

But a more subtle difference is China’s emphasis on the integrity and sovereignty of the nation state, which contrasts with the pride that many EU member states take in having diluted their own sovereignty in favour of European reconciliation and co-operation after the past century’s two world wars.

“China sees sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs pretty much as non-negotiable, whereas the EU thinks its success is built on pooling sovereignty and going beyond the principle of the nation state,” one European diplomat says.

This difference of outlook explains why the European leaders who are visiting China this week intend to tread carefully when they talk about the need for a revaluation of the renminbi or more effective Chinese action to protect intellectual property rights.

SNIP

Like Russia and the US, China sometimes seems ­frustrated with the internecine squabbles and convoluted decision-making procedures that often constitute EU policymaking. Slowly, however, Europeans and Chinese appear to be learning more about each other. More than 100,000 Chinese students studied at European universities in 2003 and 2004; there were 60,000 at US universities in the same years.

Chinese Vice Premier, Wu Yi is leading the Chinese delegation:

 I think the EU is about to find out which gender in China is more combative in economic negotiations.  I learned this first hand haggling over socks in Shanghai markets. hehe  Give’em hell Wu Yi. 

Not all is bad with between the two parties, a lot of money is changing hands as the EU is China’s largest trade partner.

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EU Leaders Call for Reform at Trade Summit in China

A trade summit between Chinese and EU leaders has opened in Beijing, with friendly official statements masking discontent. Europe wants China to move faster on product safety, currency reform and a yawning trade deficit.

Li Kequiang, a rising member of the Chinese Communist Party leadership, told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the start of a trade summit in Beijing on Wednesday that “cooperation and development has brought real benefits to the peoples of both China and the EU.”

But it was clear before the summit started that EU leaders were concerned about the pace of Chinese economic reform. The main friction points include a massive, widening trade deficit and the weakening value of the Chinese currency, the yuan. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has also complained about Chinese sluggishness in responding to food and product safety problems.

China’s trade surplus with respect to the EU hit €9.5 billion ($13.9 billion) for the month of October, according to Chinese statistics — a 50 percent increase over the previous year. The EU expects the total deficit for 2007 to rise 30 percent over 2006 to €170 billion ($252 billion).

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Japan, Vietnam sign agreement on climate, trade – I have been keeping my eye on Vietnam for a few years now. I hope they do not disappoint me, they have to uphold the “Confucianist Reputation” in the way of economic development. Following in the footsteps of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, and China is difficult for any developing nation. If Vietnam can “come up” then the only outlier will be N.Korea.

Chinese warship visits Japan, first since World War II – More strange events in the schizo relations of Japan and China. What does this mean? I am not even sure, I just know things are not really bad, but that can change any day. 🙂

EDITORIAL: Gangland war – Most Americans will not understand this. In Japan any murders is reported on the national news, although Japan has over 120 million people (about 1/3 of the U.S. population). In America I do not even know who was killed outside the D.C. metro area and murder is so common most people ignore it. Even in Tokyo, I recall Japanese telling me that a neighborhood was dangerous if it simple theft was common or too many foreigners (from developing countries) were seen. Even the Yakuza do not commonly use guns, they do not need to, as loudly yelling threats and punching people seems to “scare the bejezusout of most people. I think if most Japanese really understood how much crime existed in America they would never come here, outside of Hawaii.

Why is the European press more pessimistic than the American press? – Prof Cowen doe not understand why the European Press is so pessimistic when it comes to America. Well, I think some of us outside the Ivory Tower might refer to this as a case of “hateration“, but what do I know?

Putin reacts to NATO ‘muscle-flexing’ – Put appears to be talking tough. There are multiple messages aimed at different audiences, a domestic audience, to rally nationalism; a show solidarity with China (through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization); and a message to the newer Eastern European NATO members, as well as the U.S., that Russia is not a “push over”.

Ian Smith, white supremacist in Rhodesia, dies at 88 – Not much to say about this other than his hell will be to spend eternity with Mugabe. Hopefully he is not far behind old Ian. Good luck with that $*#*@

Stocks tumble as oil hits record high – The downward spiral continues from yesterday.

HIV case double in Beijing – This is still quite small by American standards. If you want to see Southern African style HIV infection rates come to Washington D.C.   I’m sure the CCP does not want things to get out of hand though.  I’m not sure how things have progressed on this front in China, being I have not been there since 2002, and was not dating at that time. When I lived there in 1999, there were not that many people using condoms, and I remember STDs were increasing in Shanghai at that time due to increasing prostitution.  The article cited that the majority of new cases were “migrants” and I’m guessing they are mostly male and frequent prostitutes when they have the money.  There is also IV drug use going on, which the CCP, claims is responsible for most of the HIV cases in Yunnan, not sure about the rest of China though.

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