October 30, 2006
USA Warns Taiwan and China
Meanwhile, this week Congress's "US-China Economic Security Review Commission" is to reveal its annual report of the great China Threat. The commission, created in 2000 as a compromise to the Republicans for support of Clinton's China trade deal (that guaranteed Chinese admission to WTO), is an absurd assemblage of former members of the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups and former staffers of Congress members with well known anti-China biases (Nancy Pelosi, William Byrd, etc.). It annual assessment has about as much validity as the China report put out by the Pentagon each year with similar fanfare. Indeed the commission is looking for expertise on the subject. You can apply here.
Where's The Outrage?
For days headlines screamed about the horrors of Beijing's "killer cops" and "Tiananmen China." I argued that the riots needed to be seen in a historical perspective as they were economic born, similar to the "Memorial Day Massacre" in Chicago during the Great Depression.
On Friday (October 27) an American journalist from Indymedia.org was killed by Mexican riot police. For days Mexican federal officials with tanks, helicopters, planes, and plain-clothed armed thugs (as opposed to county and provincial level police in the Dongzhou protests) have battled protestors in Oaxaca, Mexico. The riots continue. But where is the widespread condemnation? Where is the outrage about human rights and abuse of state power?
Because Mexico is America's "backyard" (informal colony) their is no protest nor national news stories. Only the hollow echo of a double standard.
October 27, 2006
Biggest IPO Ever is Chinese
ICBC is now already the world's 5th largest bank with a stock market capitalization at over $156 billion.
October 20, 2006
So Happy Not Together
There has been no rejection nor qualification from the USA of Chinese special envoy Tang Jiaxuan's declaration that diplomacy is the only option to deal with Pyongyang. Indeed, the American and Chinese response to the North Korea nuke crisis is characterized by a general weariness. Neither of the Koreas' putative parents seems that interested in finding a real solution to their 53 year-old custody battle. Of course the Chinese have no real concern in finding a solution. Kim Jong-Il's bombs now ensure that someday a reunified Korea won't feature American bases anywhere near the Chinese border. And besides, Kim now says he is "sorry." What parent wouldn't accept that?
October 09, 2006
Born of Nuclear Threats
North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are well known and are not a surprise. Further, there is a big difference between testing a crude atom bomb (which may not have successfully detonated) and becoming a nuclear power of strategic significance. In its official announcement North Korea said the bomb “will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it." More than 40 years ago, the Chinese used a similar argument emphasizing the defensive necessity of obtaining nuclear weapons due to the threat of American military invasion. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has made the Korean (and Chinese) fears of American military presence on their borders and outside their harbors real. A nuclear arms race in the area is now a very real possibility.
Korea, north and south, were born of nuclear threats and as much as Americans might not like it, there are probably millions of Koreans on both sides of the 38th parallel very proud and excited today. The majority of South Koreans have said they want their country to have nuclear weapons. And the Koreans are still seeking reunification. Less than a year ago the highest-ranking delegation from North Korea was in Seoul. The effort goes back to 2000 when South Korean President Roh visited Pyongyang.
What keeps the Korean peninsula apart isn’t just Kim Il-Jung and his anachronistic Stalinist state but the presence of 50,000 American troops, contractors, and their families in 100 military installations spread across South Korea. The USA continues to preside (in the same building in Seoul used by the Japanese when Korea was their colony) over a 53 year stalemate with China symbolized by the heavily armed “DeMilitarized Zone.” But all that conventional firepower and heavy troop presence is rendered moot by nuclear weapons.
And change is coming from the American side too. The commander of the 8th US Army in Korea said his command will deactivate and fall back to Hawaii within three years. Is this a signal that the long expected reduction of American presence in South Korea is begun?
But the biggest story may be the growing independence of Japan. Although President Bush gave his blessing prior to the trip, new Prime Minister Abe’s summits with China and South Korea are a positive sign and an indication that Japan may yet tire of being Asia’s “Britain.”
October 06, 2006
Ready for the Chinese Cars?
Of course, the real story here may be what's happening at Malcom Bricklin's (he of Subaru and Yugo fame) Visionary Vehicles which was to start importing Chery cars directly into the USA with its own network of dealerships. Seems now Bricklin is delaying his launch until end 2008 or later.
And don't forget Geely which was to start selling cars in America as soon as next year. Geely says now it may actaully build car plants in the USA, thereby jumping ahead to Toyota and Hyundai status.
Lastly, Nanjing Automobile plans to start producing MGs (they recently bought the British company and brand) as soon as next year and are planning to reopen an old GM plant in Oklahoma as well.
Is that most American of all industries, the automobile business, ready for the Chinese invasion?
October 02, 2006
Morgan Stanley Gains and Loses
And at the end of last week, Morgan Stanley launched the Morgan Stanley China A Fund to trade on the NYSE (symbol:CAF). The composition of the fund will be at least 80% A shares listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
For more on China shares, visit Sinomania! China Sharewatch.
Morgan Stanley is losing Andy Xie, however, in an unexpected departure.
For almost a decade, the incomparable Andy Xie moved minds and markets with his wise words on China. His often daily comments at the GEF were invaluable insights that cut through the fog of most China reporting.
Speculation is Xie may join a fund management firm, work in the mainland,
or perhaps join a Wall Street rival?
Bon Chance! Andy, and I hope we hear from you soon, and regularly!
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