Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Sino-Soviet issue
Source: Xinhua - People's Daily Online

China, Russia pledge to deepen all-facet ties with sweeping deals signed

China and Russia pledged to deepen their ties on Tuesday as they inked sweeping deals ranging from politics and diplomacy to energy and finance.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin agree "bilateral relations are at an unprecedented level of development" as the two leaders commended the fruitful cooperation achieved under the ten-year-old Sino-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation.

Putin, who arrived here on Tuesday morning, held talks with Hu for two hours in the Great Hall of the People before witnessing the signing of a series of agreements, including an over arching document titled the China-Russia Joint Statement.

Of the 15 agreements, three concern future cooperation on oil and natural gas projects. No specific deal was reached on the construction of an oil pipeline.

China and Russia encourage companies from both nations to invest in oil and gas exploration in order to tap the energy potential of both nations, according to the statement.

Noting that China is Russia's fourth largest trading partner, Putin said Russia was "very satisfied with bilateral trade ties."

There still exists huge potential in bilateral trade cooperation, Putin said. "China-Russia trade volume will surely meet the set goal of 60 to 80 billion U.S. dollars in 2010."

This is the fifth meeting between the two heads of state in the last 12 months.

Other senior Chinese and Russian leaders also frequently exchanged views through a series of high-level consultations, which Hu said "helps the two countries coordinate on major issues concerning their fundamental interests."

Another item high on the agenda of Putin's two-day state visit was inaugurating the Year of Russia in China, which involves more than 200 activities.

Putin said the hosting of Year of Russia shows that the current Russia-China relations have reached "a very high level and will lay a better foundation for their future development."

Hu and Putin also exchanged views on a wide range of heated international issues, covering the Iran nuclear standoff, the Korean nuclear issue, Palestine-Israel disputes, central Asian and Iraqi issues.

They also vowed to step up coordination within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes as members Russia, China and four Central Asian states -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

"China and Russia believe the development of the SCO is an important task of their diplomatic work and continue to closely coordinate their positions within the SCO," the statement says.

"The two countries will continuously exchange views on major international issues through various channels," the statement says.

Putin was accompanied by a delegation of about 90, many of whom are key Russian entrepreneurs in the fields of energy, banking, telecommunications, media and other industries. They are expected to exchange views with their Chinese counterparts.

During Putin's stay in Beijing, a Sino-Russian economic and trade summit will be held and the two sides will launch a series of business activities in a bid to boost trade and investment.

Putin ended the first day of his visit by attending the premiere of the Year of Russia at the Great Hall of People.

Source: Xinhua
People's Daily Online ---


At Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 4:40:00 AM GMT, Blogger rkm said...

I find this to be a very-much understated article. The CNN version refers to some of the underlying issues that the Chinese version leaves out:

Perhaps Brzezinski, in The Grand Chessboard, best sets out the appropriate context of what's going on here, between these two Asian giants, vis a vis the New American Century.

According to Brzezinski, control of the globe ultimately devolves to control of Eurasia - he sees this as a kind of historical fixed point. Perhaps he overstates his case, but regardless his analysis seems to be one of the guiding lights of the neocon project.

In particular, Brzezinski identifies Afghanistan as being the key strategic position on the board, and of course that was the first place the neocons secured. From that base, so to speak, we've then seen the CIA-engineered "colored revolutions", the enroachment of forward US bases in former Soviet realms, and of course there's the rushed development of new-generation, full-spectrum-dominance weapons systems.

If Afghanistan was the first knight move to the center of the board, and if the Iraq-Iran scenario represents a pin on a major energy piece, then altogether, with the various other neocon moves, we seem now to be well into the middle game. A coordinated attack is in progress by the white pieces, and the white queen—a space-age blitzkrieg capability—is being positioned for a decisive mate.

There can be little doubt that Russian and Chinese analysts are well aware of this perspective. It is in that light that we can best interpret the meaning of “all-facet ties.”

In the face of an effective white attack, a consoliated black defense is emerging, indeed the very existence of a coherent black defender is being conjured from necessity.

The potential synergy arising from all-facet ties between Russia and China is formidable. With China's money and development infrastructure, combined with the most advanced weapons know-how of Russian scientists, we can see that the window of opportunity for the white queen is clearly a finite one. A black queen is being cultivated, a potential equal to its white counterpart.

The queens embody the strategic game, while energy and miscellaneious coopertion deals provide the tactical foundation for an aspiring pan-Asian coalition-superpower.

At Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 5:34:00 PM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is what price will China and Russia pay now to avoid containment, or are they willing to gamble that they can break free at some time in the future? My thinking is that they would be willing to pay a very high price, including world war, to avoid permanent subordination to the USA and that it is extremely unwise to place them in this position.

Peter Hollings

At Friday, March 24, 2006 at 1:58:00 AM GMT, Blogger rkm said...

Hi Peter,

I agree with your main point, that China and Russia will resist permanent subordination, using whatever means they deem necessary. I think their actions are expressing that.

But I think the Cold War concept of containment is no longer relevant here. Containment is mainly about isolating a country from participation in the global economy. China has become the world's primary manufacturing center, which is about as far from being 'contained' as one could imagine.

The current situation, I believe, is that time is on the side of Russia and China. The Chinese economy is growing so rapidly that it will surpass that of the the US in the not-to-distant future, and the Chinese are not skimping on their investments in modern weapons systems.

The pressure is on the US to actively change this scenario, if it wants to remain top dog. The situation is much like that between Britain and Germany prior to World War I. The little known fact is that Britain intentionally engineered World War I, as its way of keeping Germany from becoming top dog in Europe. For the very same reasons, on a larger scale, the US might choose to arrange a war with China, and presumably Russia. This is one obvious, time-proven option in such cases - playing the 'war card'.

Another option is for the US to engineer a global economic collapse, which would have the effect of freezing major weapons systems at their current levels, leaving the US well in the lead - this would be playing the 'depression card', another time-proven mechanism for maintaining hegemony.

In this game, Russia and China want above all to continue business-as-usual as long as possible. As I said, time is on their side as regards Machiavellian geopolitics.

At Sunday, March 26, 2006 at 10:47:00 PM GMT+1, Blogger rkm said...

FYI - probably just Congressional rhetoric. I can't see them taking on the likes of Walmart.,,1739428,00.html

US-China trade war looms

Senators' protectionist anger over $200bn trade gap puts pressure on Beijing and risks damaging future strategic relations

Heather Stewart, economics correspondent
Sunday March 26, 2006
The Observer

American senators could vote this week to slap tariffs of 27.5 per cent on all Chinese goods, amid a rising clamour of protectionist anger on Capitol Hill.

The sponsors of the so-called Schumer-Graham Bill were in Beijing last week - Chuck Schumer's first official trip overseas in 25 years - to press home the message that China's cheap currency gives it an unfair advantage over the Americans. Schumer, a Democrat who represents New York, and his Republican co-sponsor, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have been promised a vote on the measure by the end of March.

Beijing announced a revaluation of the yuan last year, but so far it has only been allowed to appreciate against the dollar within tight limits - too slowly for Schumer, who said in Shanghai on Friday: "We are not going to give up until we've seen a plan [from China]."

The US ran a trade deficit of more than $200bn with China last year, as shoppers sucked in low-cost consumer goods from the fast-growing economy. Like Japan in the Eighties, China is the target of protectionist rhetoric.

"There's a growing antipathy to free trade in Congress, and the Bush administration is fully on board," says Dan Ikenson of free market think-tank the Cato Institute. Treasury Secretary John Snow has repeatedly pressed the case for the Chinese to float their currency.

Schumer and Graham will hold talks with colleagues in Congress to decide whether to press their bill to a vote. "The jury's out," Schumer said. "We're going to make a decision next week. We're not saying yes, we're not saying no."

A third Senator, Iowan Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has suggested he could table a compromise bill that would call for harsher scrutiny of the Chinese by the US administration, without imposing tariffs immediately.

Ikenson predicted that the senators would back away from making a move this week and await the outcome of a state visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao in April, but with many other anti-China bills also tabled in Congress, the pressure for action is mounting. He compared the rhetoric in Washington to furious objections to the takeover of US ports by Dubai Ports World last month. "I look at the Dubai Ports situation - Congress turned into a mob. Everyone wanted to be seen as doing something about it. I think the same dynamic could take hold on the trade issue."

Some analysts have compared the bill with the infamous 'Smoot-Hawley' tariffs of 1930, which kicked off a tit-for-tat transatlantic trade war and helped turn the stock market crash of 1929 into the Great Depression. Phillip Swagel of the American Enterprise Institute said that unless Schumer drew back from the brink this week, he could become known as the Smoot of the 21st century: "He would go down in history as the man who crashed the US economy." He said the anti-China senators were likely to "declare victory", having delivered their message to the Chinese in person.

But Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, who met the senators - and Beijing officials - in China last week, said the rhetoric on Capitol Hill was already damaging a fruitful trading relationship. "China is deeply troubled over the outright hostility from an increasingly xenophobic US Congress," he said.

He said the trade deficit was the flipside of America's insatiable demand for foreign goods and its lack of savings. The US consumes more than it earns and borrows the difference, much of it from Asian central banks, including China's.

"The danger is that the United States views China with a growing sense of distrust - poisoning the chances for strategic co-operation and squandering one of the greatest opportunities of globalisation," Roach warned.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao made it clear that he has no intention of acceding to US politicians' demands. "It is unfair to make China a scapegoat for structural problems facing the US economy," he said. China has repeatedly said that it plans to float its currency eventually, but it fears the impact of 'big bang' flotation on its fragile financial sector.

Ikenson warned that by threatening punitive sanctions, America would exhaust Beijing's goodwill, which it might need for tougher geopolitical issues in the future: "If we continue to hound them about their currency, we're not going to have enough left to push them on issues that really matter."


Post a Comment

<< Home