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Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Sunday, May 19, 2019

US and China: Are the superpowers heading for a collision, or can they be frenemies?

US President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at a working dinner in Buenos Aires in December. Mr Trump recently accused Beijing of backtracking on commitments for a proposed trade deal, which Beijing denies.

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US, China: Frenemies? - World | The Star Online 

Professor who predicted clash between great powers talks about the next challenges ahead, including forestalling conflicts and finding a way forward, perhaps through ‘rivalry partnership’.

Prof Allison: The souring of bilateral ties caused by the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China risks creating the politics, perceptions and psychology that make a clash between the two countries harder to avoid. — China Daily/ANN
Prof Allison: The souring of bilateral ties caused by the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China risks creating the politics, perceptions and psychology that make a clash between the two countries harder to avoid. — China Daily/ANN

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Time to discard any illusions about the US

A letter written by He Tingbo, president of HiSilicon, a semiconductor company owned by Huawei, was made public on Friday. The letter is a touching one and has won public support. In the letter, He said that employees of the company embarked on the most stirring journey in technology history in recent years to make backup products for Huawei and now these products will finally be put to use.

US relies on deception and is most afraid of protracted trade war

The economic data of China and the US for the month of April was not good. There are divergent views on the reasons for China's declining retail sales growth rate and especially, its industrial output growth. But amid China's overall expectations that a trade war could have some impact on the economy this year, one month's unsatisfactory data is socially and psychologically affordable.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

China hits back at US tariffs


Duties show Beijing unfazed by Washington’s pressure

China on Monday struck back at US tariffs on Chinese goods, announcing duties of between 5 percent to 25 percent on more than 5,100 products from the US worth tens of billions of dollars.

The measured but firm response from Chinese officials highlighted China's defiance toward maximum pressure from US officials amid a fresh escalation in the trade war, while also seeking to avoid a full-fledged trade war with the US, analysts said.

China will impose an additional tariff of 25 percent on 2,493 items such as liquefied natural gas and 20 percent on 1,078 items, including fruits and chemicals, starting June 1, the Customs Tariff Commission under the State Council, China's cabinet, said in a statement Monday night.

China will also impose an additional tariff of 10 percent on 974 items, such as vegetables and seafood, and 5 percent on 595 items, including smaller planes, according to the statement. In total, the tariffs cover 5,140 US products worth $60 billion.

The statement said that China's measures were in response to the US' decision to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

"The aforementioned US action has led to an escalation in China-US trade frictions and is against a consensus reached by the two sides to address trade differences through consultations," it said, adding it hurts both sides' interests.

Following China's tariffs, US stocks tumbled on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 2.17 percent shortly after market opening. Shares of major US companies which rely on Chinese markets also nosedived, with machinery maker Caterpillar stocks down 4.54 percent and aircraftmaker Boeing shares down 3.38 percent.

Firm response

"I think the response is firm but measured," said Huo Jianguo, vice chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies in Beijing, pointing out that the measures were specifically aimed at responding to the US action.

The US on Friday raised duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent from the 10 percent imposed since September 2018, to which China responded with tariffs on $60 billion in US goods.

"While the Chinese tariffs cover less US products than the US tariffs do on Chinese goods, it is sufficient to show that China is not going to back down from pressure," Huo said.

China's response comes about an hour after US President Donald Trump warned China against retaliating on Monday. "China should not retaliate - will only get worse!" Trump tweeted, while repeating false accusations against China.

The Chinese tariffs also followed fresh threats from US officials to impose tariffs on $325 billion in Chinese goods with details expected to be announced on Monday US time.

"Since the US has resumed the trade war, we should hit back hard… to show the Americans that they will not gain anything from their tough approach," He Weiwen, a former senior Chinese trade official, told the Global Times. "But we should also not close the door to talks."

Door open

Though China was forced to impose the tariffs, it also did so in a way that avoided a further escalation and left room for negotiations, said Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy.

"The country still left some room in the hope that bilateral trade tensions would not further escalate, and that there would be possible future talks with the US," Song said.

Chinese and US officials concluded the 11th round of negotiations in Washington on Friday without reaching any deal. There were no plans for future talks as of press time on Monday.

But in light of the drastic turn of events in the trade talks, China has prepared for all scenarios, officials and analysts said.

"The Chinese side will never succumb to external pressure and we have the resolve and ability to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests," Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a routine press briefing on Monday.

"Again, we hope the US side could work with China and meet China halfway to address each other's reasonable concerns based on mutual respect and equal terms," he said.

But if the US wants to further escalate the trade war, China will respond in kind and there are many other tools it could take to inflict pain on the US economy, including targeting US financial markets, analyst noted.

Stay focused

However, while fighting back is necessary, it is also equally important for China not to lose focus in carrying out stated reform and opening-up efforts aimed at ensuring long-term growth for the Chinese economy, analysts said.

"We need to commit to our policies because we must keep things at home in good shape. That goes without saying," Huo said, noting that China should continue its reform and opening-up efforts.

Continuing reform and opening-up measures will not only help cope with pressure from the US, but could also ensure long-term growth for the Chinese economy, analysts said.

In the short term, though, China needs to properly evaluate the potential damage of the trade war on Chinese companies and workers and take necessary measures to help them weather the impact.

Yu Yongding, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that given China's deep role in the global value chain, it is hard to evaluate the impact on the Chinese economy, but China needs to prepare for the worst.

"In any case, the Chinese economy will be able to withstand the impact, and China's monetary and fiscal policies still have room," he said at a seminar in Beijing on Saturday.

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World markets plunged further on Tuesday following heavy losses on Wall Street after China delivered a swift rebuff to Donald Trump by imposing retaliatory tariffs on $60bn of US imports. Beijing ignored warnings from Trump about the dangers of escalating the trade conflict and ..

Tall tales won't help US win trade war

The Chinese side is obviously more realistic while the US is falsifying. This will, to a large extent, influence how the two countries digest the trade war impacts.
Source: Global Times

US' maximum pressure policy is useless

China's stance is clear-cut. It is willing to reach a deal but will never make concessions on issues of principle, nor trade its core interests. In contrast, the US' attitude is swaying. Driven by unrealistic anticipation, it has drifted between expressing optimism that exceeds the actual situation and arbitrarily waving the tariff stick. China has clarified its stance and will try to push the situation in a good direction. If the US is to play a roller coaster-style thriller game, it will bear the consequences.
Source: Global Times

US companies set to pay price of trade row with China

US-based software company Oracle attracted a lot of attention in recent days after firing hundreds of employees, mainly engineers, from its China team.
Source: Global Times

Tall tales won't help US win trade war

The Chinese side is obviously more realistic while the US is falsifying. This will, to a large extent, influence how the two countries digest the trade war impacts.

US lacks clear consensus on China policy

The fundamental strategic cooperation (global security and peace, regional hotspot issues, energy, climate change, etc.) between China and the US, the two most powerful nations in history, cannot be ignored. Therefore, the failure of China-US relations is an unbearable disaster for both countries and the world.

China's retaliation measures 'rational'

China's latest countermeasures against US tariff hikes demonstrated its “rational” attitude toward the ongoing trade war as the retaliation left room for further negotiations while also easing pressure on domestic companies, experts said on Tuesday.

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Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks . Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrive.. The US will raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion wo...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

‘Money/cash is King’ comes back to bite Pakatan

Politicians using cash to buy power and votes has created a culture in Malaysia in which people have started valuing money more than truth, hard work and honesty. 

THE enduring potency of the ringgit caused by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “Cash is King” regime came in for much ridicule in the last election campaign, much to the chagrin of the perpetrator of this philosophy.

In all his speeches and media interviews in the last two years before 2018’s 14th General Election, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad never failed to hammer home the point that Najib told him this when he asked why he was giving out cash hand-outs in so many forms to the people, and very freely too.

His intended message to the voters was that Najib used this tactic to “buy” votes, as Malaysians will eventually be beholden and grateful to the man who dishes out cash. Whether those receiving it deserved it or not did not matter, everyone wanted the money and many did not care where it came from.

For a long time, money and power worked like a firewall around Najib and his Cabinet, which made him believe cash was indeed king as they blithely went about plundering the nation.

It has been established or is being established at Najib’s on-going corruption trial involving the alleged siphoning of funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, that money was freely dished out for political support, popularity and reverence, among others.

Mahathir’s campaign was direct and simple, that it was borrowed money and stolen funds from the people that was being given out, and this campaign strategy worked. It thus showed that anti-corruption is an easy sell and proved that most Malaysian voters did care about abstract ethical issues like corruption.

Unbelievably, even many of the beneficiaries of Najib’s largesse had obviously voted against Barisan Nasional while some others became turncoats shamelessly, leaving the flagging party.

But one year after dismantling the Cash is King mantra, it somehow appears to be coming back to bite Dr Mahathir and the Pakatan Harapan leadership. The new mantra among many Malaysians now is that they don’t seem to have enough money all the time.

True, the cost of living never came down substantially after the abolition of the GST (goods and services tax), but we cannot deny that it did lower shopping bills in places like hypermarkets as there was no SST (sales and services tax) levied at such outlets.

RON 95 petrol, which is currently used by most motorists, is capped at RM2.08 a litre which is about 40 sen lower than the actual price it would have been if the old managed float system based on global crude oil prices was in place

Not very tangible for the average Malaysian, right? Do they even care to understand the intangibles that they are benefiting from as a result of several new policies and taxes? No! Looks like Malaysians are not prepared to ask what they can do for the country, it is always what the country must do for them.

Nearly every person I meet seems to have just one thing to say: nothing has come down. All prices have remained the same while some have only gone up. And that Pakatan has not delivered or is slow in keeping its promises.

And strangely, I have been noticing a pattern where those providing certain home services like courier and telecommunication technicians actually volunteer to say that times were better under the Barisan government as they had more money to spend.

“It is very difficult now, we have less money to spend compared to last time when BN was in power. Pakatan Harapan is not keeping its promises,” a Pos Laju staff told a friend of mine without being asked.

I’m one who views surveys by certain groups and parties, especially the random ones, warily as the respondents do not necessarily reflect the actual feelings on the ground. So I make it a point to talk to strangers about this subject whether in public stations or while in a queue waiting to pay something.

What I notice is that while people may be a tad bit sympathetic when I tell them they have to give Pakatan more time because of certain extenuating circumstances, generally, they are unhappy.

The bottom line of their unhappiness now is all about cash. They are receiving less money from the government, never mind what they were enjoying in the past was stolen or borrowed money.

This group of people don’t seem to be outraged, which we all should naturally be, at past leaders who had virtually abused their power to rob the nation’s coffers, a fact which has emerged or is being exposed in many key institutions.

They claim that the BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia) payments are now lower and many recipients have also been removed from the list as they do not qualify under the minimum household income requirement. So what is wrong with that? Why do you want money that does not belong to you or you don’t deserve?

Yes, it’s true that the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH, as BR1M is now called) has been reduced by RM200 to RM1,000 but Pakatan has made sure that only really needy Malaysians get such welfare aid, as it had been greatly abused in the past.

And to make sure those really in need receive more help, the government is giving out an additional RM100 for each child below 18 years of age whose guardians are BSH recipients, for a maximum of four children. And if the child is disabled, it is for a lifetime, no age limit. So if a BSH recipient has four children below 18, he or she gets a total of RM1,420. This is higher than before.

Malaysia has thrived because of a culture of opportunity that encourages hard work in the private sector. Of course, the social restructuring policy, which was aimed at giving a hand to the have-nots to give them a lift, played a role.

But this should not go on forever, the number must reduce eventually as those benefiting should finally be able to help their families to grow away from this dependency.

The growth of this form of welfare state funded by projected or borrowed income -- or worse still, by funds siphoned from government coffers -- is turning Malaysia into a land where many expect, and see no stigma attached, to receive regular financial support.

I find this a growing and dangerous trend, when undeserving Malaysians sit back idly and wait for these cash hand-outs as an entitlement instead of a privilege. And what’s more distressing is to see politicians feeding this cancer as a way of continuing to stay in power.

The actual meaning of the phrase “Cash is King”, as most of us know, is a term reflecting the belief that cash money is more valuable than any other form of investment tool for businesses. For individuals, it is meant to be a fund which is easily accessible for urgent expenditures or purchases.

It is not a phrase that politicians or others use to indicate that they can buy power and votes so that they are able to be in absolute control of the nation for as long as they want. Unfortunately, though, many have done this and it has created a culture in Malaysia in which the people have started valuing money more than truth, hard work and honesty.

Cash is not king when it is stolen from others or, worse still, from public funds placed under your trust or control. That is called cashing in. It is surely not king if it is obtained by unfair trade practices or it is beyond a fair deal.

In this context, something that Dr Mahathir said about two years before the last election shortly after he decided to re-enter politics stands out in my mind. He had said: “You see the collapse of moral values in Malaysia is terrible. In the future we are going to be like those countries where bribery is a part of daily life -- you can’t do anything without bribery.”

This is what he is trying to dismantle after he came back into politics at the age of 93, so we should give our wholehearted support to him and Pakatan for a better and cleaner Malaysia for all.

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Expect the unexpected from Dr M - Analysis

Mediocre future? If selection at the matriculation level is not based on meritocracy, the quality of our tertiary institutions will be .

Meritocracy Vs. Mediocrity Education system must champion meritocracy THE country is facing yet another controversy of its own ...

  The Pakatan government has little choice nor time to check the slide on its popularity and goodwill from voters. WHAT a difference a y


Crime and cost of living are top concerns for Malaysians - Ipsos Global Research

Saturday, May 11, 2019

US hits China with higher tariffs, raising stakes in trade talks

Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrives at the the Office of the United States Trade Representative for negotiations on a trade deal

The United States pulled the trigger Friday on a steep increase in tariffs on Chinese products and Beijing immediately vowed to hit back, turning up the heat before a second day of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump got a briefing from his trade negotiators after the first day of talks with the Chinese side on Thursday, but made no move to hold off on the tariffs -- dashing hopes there might be a last-minute reprieve as the negotiations continued.

Minutes after the US increased punitive duties on $200 billion in imports from 10 to 25 percent, the Chinese commerce ministry said it "deeply regrets" the move and repeated its pledge to take "necessary countermeasures", without elaborating.

Locked in a trade dispute for more than a year, officials from the world's two biggest economies returned to the bargaining table late Thursday, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Since last year, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, gutting US agricultural exports to China and weighing on both countries' manufacturing sectors.

Trump began the standoff because of complaints about unfair Chinese trade practices.

The US team met with Trump late Thursday night to brief him and "agreed to continue discussions" on Friday, the White House said in a statement.

AFP / Jonathan WALTER US-China trade

Lighthizer and Mnuchin met the Chinese delegation for about 90 minutes Thursday evening and they had a working dinner with Liu.

"We hope the US and the Chinese side can meet each other halfway and work hard together to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation," the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement.

Despite optimism from officials in recent weeks that the talks were moving towards a deal, tensions reignited this week after Trump angrily accused China of trying to backpedal on its commitments.

"They took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can't do that," Trump said on Thursday.

But he held out hopes of salvaging a deal.

"It's possible to do it," Trump said. "I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi (Jinping)."

At the same time, he said he would be happy to keep tariffs in place. And he has threatened to extend the tough duties to all Chinese goods.

Michael Taylor, a managing director for Moody's Investors Service, said the tariff hike "further raises tensions" between the two countries.

"While we believe that a trade deal will eventually be reached between the US and China, the risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has certainly increased," Taylor said.

- Tariffs increase -

The renewed tensions roiled global stock markets this week and unnerved exporters, though Chinese shares led gains across most Asian and European markets on Friday.

AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wait to greet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade talks

Liu said on his arrival in Washington that the prospects for the talks were "promising," but warned that raising tariffs would be "harmful to both sides," and called instead for cooperation.

"I hope to engage in rational and candid exchanges with the US side," he told Chinese state media.

"Of course, China believes raising tariffs in the current situation is not a solution to the problem, but harmful to China, to the United States and to the whole world."

The higher duty rates will hit a vast array of Chinese-made electrical equipment, machinery, auto parts and furniture.

But due to a quirk in the implementation of the higher tariffs, products already on ships headed for US ports before midnight will only pay the 10 percent rate, US Customs and Border Protection explained.

That could effectively provide a grace period for the sides to avert serious escalation.

AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds An anti-China protester (C) yells at a pro-China demonstrator outside the Office of the United States Trade Representative as US and Chinese officials hold tariff negotiations in Washington

"While we are disappointed that the stakes have been raised, we nevertheless support the ongoing effort by both sides to reach agreement on a strong, enforceable deal that resolves the fundamental, structural issues our members have long faced in China," said business lobby the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The US is pressing China to change its policies on protections for intellectual property, massive subsidies for state-owned firms, and reduce the yawning trade deficit.

Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the two sides had clashed over how much of the final trade agreement should be enshrined in a public document, something Beijing has long resisted.

"What the Chinese step-back primarily says is they don't want to publicly acknowledge that their existing laws, especially on IP, are flawed," he told AFP.

Washington is counting on the strong US economy to be able to withstand the impact of higher costs from the import duties and retaliation better than China, which has seen its growth slow.

A Chinese central bank advisor told state-run Financial News that Trump's tariff hike and Chinese retaliation would lower economic growth by 0.3 percentage points.

It is "within a controllable range", the advisor Ma Jun saidA.


Read more: 

Trump orders tariff hike on remaining Chinese imports | Free Malaysia ...

China vows to counter US tariffs

 Beijing has many ways to make Washington pay

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (left) shakes hands with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (center) alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as Liu arrives at the Office of the US Trade Representative for trade negotiations in Washington DC, Friday. Photo: AP

After months of truce, the trade war between China and the US escalated on Friday, after the US shrugged off widespread warnings and moved to hike tariffs on Chinese goods, drawing a firm response from China, which vowed to retaliate.

Though Chinese and US officials are continuing talks, the renewed tensions between the world's two largest economies significantly complicated ongoing negotiations, dimmed the prospects of any potential trade agreement and stoked fear that a full-fledged trade war could still break out. And the US is to blame for the risky turn of events, Chinese officials and analysts stressed.

After days of repeated threats, US officials on Friday noon (Beijing Time) increased an existing 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent, breaking a truce reached by the leaders of the two countries in December 2018 and highlighting the unreliable and unpredictable nature of the US administration.

Minutes after the US tariff hike took effect, China struck back. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that China "will have to take necessary countermeasures," while still urging the US to meet China halfway in ongoing negotiations in Washington.

Even as tensions escalated, officials pushed through with the 11th round of negotiations as they try to make a last-ditch effort to bring the months-long talks back on track for a trade agreement.

The Chinese delegation was seen arriving at the Office of the US Trade Representative at around 5 pm on Thursday US time and left about an hour and half later. The talks will continue on Friday morning, according to US media reports.

 "We are now at a very delicate place, where further negotiations have become significantly more difficult… the risk of a further escalation also increased," Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Friday. "We cannot allow this to become normal. That would be dangerous."

Forced retaliation

Chinese officials have repeatedly stressed that China does not want to fight a trade war, but Washington's aggressiveness and belligerence left them no other option but to fight back, analysts said.

"China will also have to make good on its own words, otherwise, it will be at a huge disadvantage to the US team at the negotiations," said He Weiwen, a former senior Chinese trade official, told the Global Times on Friday, referring to China's earlier vow to retaliate if the US went ahead with the tariff threat.

Though the MOFCOM on Friday did not say what countermeasures China will take and when it will implement them, there are many ways China can inflict pain on the US economy, according to analysts.

"The most direct countermeasure would be raising existing tariffs on US goods or imposing tariffs on more US products," Song said. "However, we cannot rule out other policy tools."

Song pointed out that with the overall trade relationship souring, US companies' operations and investments in China could also be impacted, given the rising anger among the Chinese public toward the US.

In the wake of renewed tensions, calls on Chinese social media to boycott US products rose, including US films, iPhones and computers. "Why retaliate? All we need to do is boycotting US products," one internet user said on Sina Weibo.

Chinese analysts also suggested that China could target the US financial system, the backbone of the US economy, including unloading China's holdings of US Treasury bonds.  Big US corporations and products, such as agricultural goods, will also likely encounter more scrutiny and resistance in China.

"Such an impact on US companies and industries will not be less severe than from the tariffs," Song said.

Many US business groups have expressed strong opposition to the  tariffs. On Wall Street, US stocks have also suffered losses in the past few days, as have stocks in major bourses across the world.

Complicated outlook

While it remains to be seen whether trade officials could still make a breakthrough at the talks, it is clear that the escalation complicates the talks and dims prospects for a deal, analysts said.

"I don't expect too much from this round of talks," a source in Washington  familiar with the talks told the Global Times on Friday, noting that US President Donald Trump had miscalculated.

"He initially wanted to show how he forced China into making concessions," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. "But that is like forcing China not to sign the deal quickly."

However, citing US eagerness, other observers have also argued that there is still a chance for the two sides to reach a deal.

"I think there is still a chance for the two countries to reach an agreement," Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday, noting that the two sides still appear eager to reach a deal, despite their tough rhetoric.

In what appears to be an attempt to leave room for talks, US officials offered a grace period for the tariff hike. Trump also said on Thursday that a deal is still "possible" this week and that he might speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone, CNBC reported.

Asked about the phone call, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Friday that he was not aware of such a plan but the two leaders have maintained close contact.

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 US' maximum pressure policy is useless
China's stance is clear-cut. It is willing to reach a deal but will never make concessions on issues of principle, nor trade its core interests. In contrast, the US' attitude is swaying. Driven by unrealistic anticipation, it has drifted between expressing optimism that exceeds the actual situation and arbitrarily waving the tariff stick. China has clarified its stance and will try to push the situation in a good direction. If the US is to play a roller coaster-style thriller game, it will bear the consequences.
Source: Global Times | 2019/5/12 22:47:27

Trump can't reverse US trade gap with tweets alone

In a tweet, US President Donald Trump said "Such an easy way to avoid Tariffs? Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It's very simple!"
Source: Global Times | 2019/5/12 21:50:35

Escalating tariff war with China, White House risks digging a hole for Americans

The US government escalated its trade war with China significantly on Friday, raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Beijing has vowed a tit-for-tat response meaning there is an increasing probability that there will be a long and agonizing trade dispute between the economic giants.
Source: Global Times | 2019/5/12 21:50:30

Pope Francis sees China as great country, says cardinal

As a sign of positive developments in China-Vatican relations, the recent Easter celebrations were peaceful in China and the presence of the Vatican representation at the Horticultural International Exhibition in Beijing attracted positive attention. Cardinal Pietro Parolin(Parolin), Vatican Secretary of State, granted an exclusive interview to the Global Times (GT) special correspondent Francesco Sisci and staff reporter Zhang Yu. He talked about the latest progress of the provisional agreement between China and the Holy See, his memories of negotiating with Chinese representatives, and his take on China's sinicization of religions in recent years.

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China won’t flinch in face of tough-talking US

Dialogue of civilizations can iron out cultural creases

Dialogue of civilizations can iron out cultural creases

lustration: Liu Rui/GT
The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations will be held from May 15 to 22 in Beijing, and Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the event and deliver a keynote speech, officials said at a press conference on Thursday. #AsianCivilizations #XiJinping

The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations will kick off in Beijing soon. It is China's attempt to promote understanding among different civilizations, inclusive development, and to respond to the theory of the Clash of Civilizations with the philosophy of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

During the just-concluded second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China defined the future of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a route that brings together different civilizations. It reflects China's ample confidence in the initiative to enhance civilizational exchanges, mutual understanding and civilized coexistence. Through BRI, countries can understand, respect, and trust one another.

Differences do exist between China and the US - the two most influential powers in the world - in terms of civilizations. Some in the US are even prejudiced about China's culture and disagree with the country's development path and value system.

China has always advocated mutual learning between civilizations. The country needs to strengthen its power of discourse and show Chinese civilization's unique charm to the US, the West, and the entire international community. The dialogue between Chinese and American civilizations, an important part of the dialogue of global civilizations, is of great significance in building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Over the years, China and the US have already explored quite a lot in this regard. At the Mar-a-Lago summit between Chinese and US leaders in 2017, the two sides agreed to establish high-level dialogue mechanisms, including social and people-to-people contact. In addition, Chinese and US scholars organized the Sino-American Dialogue on Core Values as early as in 2011. The Foreign Affairs magazine published an article titled "China vs. America: Managing the Next Clash of Civilizations" in 2017.

Surprisingly, recent reports by the Washington Examiner and Voice of America indicate that the US State Department is developing strategies in response to the "clash" with Chinese civilization.

The Clash of Civilizations is a theory proposed in 1993 by Samuel Huntington, a well-known US political scholar who teaches at Harvard University. He argued that the clash of civilizations, instead of ideological and economic clashes, will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. He conjectured that the core of international politics will be the interaction between Western and non-Western civilizations.

Huntington predicted that the clash of civilizations would be especially manifested in Western-Islamic conflicts after the Cold War. It is puzzling that US officials are now turning to China.

The Clash of Civilizations theory targeting China seems to be gaining traction among anti-China forces in the US. The National Security Strategy issued by the White House in late 2017 labeled China as a strategic competitor. The US adverse policies toward China have created obstacles in the path of smooth China-US relations.

If the US Department of State continues to promote policy measures against China based on the Clash of Civilizations, ties will be further hurt, and more specific steps taken. Not only that, the US may also take advantage of this theory and force other countries to follow its lead in containing China.

However, such attempts by adversarial US forces will eventually fall flat.

Their argument of Clash of Civilizations, violating mainstream American values based on pluralism and inclusiveness, has already triggered heated debate inside the US. Some senior US experts studying China have criticized the view for lacking understanding of China.

It will be tough if the US attempts to lead the West to a civilizational battle with China. The damage caused by the "America First" theory has yet to heal. Describing US competition with China as the clash of civilization may once again create contradictions and panic. Dialogue of civilizations is needed rather than a cold war.

By Xi Laiwang Source:Global Times

The author is a senior reporter and an observer of international issues.

Related post:

Yes to Belt and Road - Everyone will benefit from BRI

Thursday, May 9, 2019

China won’t flinch in face of tough-talking US

The US will raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports effective Friday, according to a notice posted to the Federal Register.

The announcement was made at 8:45 pm on May 8 (Beijing time). At 11:23 pm, the Chinese Minister of Commerce said that China will have to take necessary countermeasures if the US goes ahead with its plan to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. Although China's announcement was made in a calm and peaceful manner, it has shown the country's unswerving resolution to defend its own interests.

Washington has lit the fuse on escalating China-US trade tensions. Beijing had announced it would send a delegation for the May 9 consultations before Washington's May 8 announcement. At this critical time, Washington's imprudent move is clearly an extreme means of sending an alarming message to China. Washington must have expected the Chinese delegation would rush to the US and seize every opportunity to reverse the situation. Instead, the Chinese delegation decided to fly to the US one day later than originally planned. This is the way Chinese express their will and determination.

The 11th round of China-US trade talks in Washington on May 9 looks like a "Banquet at Hongmen." On the one hand, Washington is lighting a fuse on escalating trade tensions; and on the other they still want to continue negotiating with the Chinese delegation. By doing so, they have set a new precedent in the history of trade talks.

Many people may ask: Under such circumstances, why is Beijing still sending the delegation to Washington? In fact, it's really Washington that should be answering the question: Under such circumstances, why is the Chinese delegation invited to Washington for more trade talks?

The answer is simple. Both China and the US want to finalize a trade deal. Obviously, there are some issues that are difficult to overcome for both sides. It seems that both are now mentally prepared for a transition from truce talks to the mode of "fighting and talking" at the same time.

It is a great pity that after meeting halfway on most of their differences, China and the US have not been able to reach consensus on the last few core issues. Those issues are not supposed to come up as they specifically reflect the unreasonable demands by the US. Their emergence is rooted in the misguided perception that the US is privileged by its strength. That misconception has also motivated the latest unexpected tariff rise announced by Washington.

China has turned down the US demands at the final stage of negotiation. It was not only encouraged by its strength, but also motivated by its belief in the principle of equality. China is not afraid of conflict with the US at the last moment. In the face of the "big stick" of the US tariff threats, China has once again demonstrated its confidence in coping with an escalated trade war.

Since neither side has given up on the idea of making a deal, and it is the ultimate goal of both countries, the latest round of China-US trade talks is expected to be conducted in a climate of uncertainty, including that of a looming escalated trade war. Such a scenario has rarely been seen in the history of trade talks.

Will the US hit the brakes on the trade war at the last minute? Chinese want to know the answer to that question, but Americans are more concerned. Washington has found itself caught in a dilemma between its ambition to gain the upper hand in trade over China and its desire to minimize any negative impacts on its stock market. Beijing is serious about both trade talks and trade wars. Now, it is fully ready to switch to the mode of "fighting and talking."

China is well prepared for an escalation in trade tensions. A variety of plans are in place, such as countermeasures for any tariff rise, and favorable policies to minimize losses for Chinese enterprises. Mentally and materially, China is much better prepared than its US counterpart.

In the face of the imminent, unique "Banquet at Hongmen," Chinese have full confidence in their delegation. Members of the Chinese delegation not only have the experience and wisdom to cope with the situation, but they also have the firm support and trust of the entire Chinese society.

Undoubtedly, the delegation will bring both the strong will and goodwill of the Chinese government and people to Washington at this critical juncture.

If there is a new round of tariff conflicts, it would be a repeat, or an enhanced version of what happened in the past. It would definitely incur losses for China and the US, losses that are both direct and indirect, explicit and implicit. Anyway, the total scale of losses on both sides would be roughly the same. If Washington has its mind set on going back down the path of a trade war, then China will fight it to the end. China has always had a firm stand on a trade war: China does not want it; China is not afraid of it; China will launch it when necessary.

Seeking fairness and justice on the global stage sometimes requires a huge price. It also can be costly for different parties to reach consensus. In the past year, China and the US have been locked in a trade war and have had 10 rounds of trade talks. However, the two sides have failed to meet each other halfway to make a deal. Many are wondering how much it will cost the two countries before a final agreement is made. If the latest round of talks in Washington fails to solve the puzzle, then the two countries will have to keep searching for the answer in the future.- Global Times


China ready for any outcomes in trade talks with US

US President Donald Trump's threat of increased tariffs on Chinese goods has added more uncertainty to trade talks with China. Some observers are worried that a tough stance may be ...
Source: Global Times | 2019/5/8 20:38:40


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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Malaysia's economy: Fine growth with minimal inflation

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The economy continues to chug along just fine even as it recorded the first inflation of the year in March. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2% in March 2019 from the previous year.

The recovery away from a deflation in the previous two months was driven by the transport and the food & non-alcoholic beverages components of the CPI.

MIDF Research said in its report that the country's consumer inflation is likely to stay low following the lower capped prices of RON95 and Diesel at RM2.08 and RM2.18 per litre respectively.

Nevertheless, it said that the demand-push factor remains firm amid stable job market and steady wage growth.

Meanwhile, labour force growth has maintained at 2.1% year-on-year (yoy) in Feb 2019 while employment growth inched down to 2.1% yoy while jobs added in the economy was recorded at 34,000.

It noted that the number of unemployed people officially increased by 1.6% yoy.

But it noted also that growth in both the labour force and employment continued to outpace unemployment growth for the last 24 months since Mar 2017.

"The stable job market reflects healthy development of Malaysia’s economy and provides solid support to domestic demand," the research house said.

Meanwhile, exports dropped 5.3% yoy in Feb 2019, the lowest in more than two years mainly due to a short calendar month on top of the long Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays.

Imports also fell and it declined more than exports at 9.4% yoy.

During the CNY holidays, all Chinese factories were shut down with most of them closed one or two weeks prior to the festive holidays. As the celebration put a halt to mass production, it disrupted the global supply chain resulting in a weak trade performance.

All sectors recorded a negative exports growth: agriculture (-13.7% yoy), manufacturing (-4.3% yoy) and mining (-5.5% yoy).

Despite the poor exports and imports figures, trade surplus maintained at above RM11bil in Feb 2019.

When compared with the previous month, both exports and imports contracted by 22% and 24.8% 

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