archive-au.com » AU » B » BUSINESSSPECTATOR.COM.AU

Total: 1320

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Ambitious China goes land roving | Business Spectator
    in competition As an island nation we tend to only focus on the maritime part of strategic and economic relations But if China s rise is really going to shape our region and the world over this century and there is a long way to go if this happens if at all then we ought to understand that the rise of continental China will remain as pertinent as the recent rise of the maritime version As an example of how Australia is only focused on the vertical plane of Asia from the east coast of China and Japan down to the Philippines Malaysia and Indonesia consider the announcement over the weekend that China and India will move ahead with preparation for the BCIM Bangladesh China India Myanmar economic corridor following a visit to Beijing from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh The what you may ask That s the point The announcement was hardly sighted in the Australian press This is despite the Chinese proclaiming that the BCIM corridor could change the geo political map in Asia and the world Maybe China overstated the case just a touch But continental developments in the Asian side of the Eurasian landmass will not be insignificant and it will have strategic and economic consequences for the Asia Pacific First of all the BCIM economic corridor includes four countries with a combined population of over 2 8 billion people almost 40 per cent of the world s population The combined GDPs of the four countries based on 2012 figures is US10 24 trillion less on proportional terms than global population size but still almost 15 per cent of the world s GDP Importantly all these countries have the chance to grow at rapid rates of 5 8 per cent over the next couple of decades even if this author is sceptical that China is capable of doing so Currently the total trade volume of these four countries is US4 74 trillion What does the Sino Indian announcement about renewed interest in the BCIM economic corridor involve It will include roads railways and other infrastructure connecting the four BCIM countries They have revived a February 2012 plan to develop a 2 800 kilometre highway from Kolkata in India s east through Dhaka Sylhet Imphal Moreh Tamu Mandalay Museto and ending in Yunnan province in China s south Once the super highway is in place China has proposed setting up trading entrepots and industrial zones along it complete with synchronised regulatory and taxation regimes Importantly Beijing appears to be warming to the idea of funding much of the development since it is the only member of the group capable of doing so Despite much of the commentary about India s Look East policy being about maritime Southeast Asia the policy is as much about the BCIM continental economic corridor as it is about accessing ports in Thailand Malaysia Indonesia the Philippines Cambodia or Vietnam Reaching the potentially vast Chinese inland markets only through these ports does not make sense for New Delhi when it can take a much shorter land based route to southern China which is still largely out of bounds for more competitive advanced economy firms Is this revival of the south west part of the ancient silk road all a pipedream Well it is already happening between Myanmar and China despite the former trying to welcome in Western firms in order to diversify its economy away from mineral and energy resources and decrease reliance on Chinese SOEs China has long been pushing a framework of policies geared towards the so called Greater Mekong Sub Region which encompasses Yunnan Province Myanmar Cambodia Laos Vietnam and Thailand The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region formally joined the GMS in 2005 For China the GMS is a critical component of the country s national economic strategy In addition to the desire for a continental trading route that connects southern China with the mainland of south east Asia and south Asia bypassing maritime routes through the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits economic integration and growing prosperity in GMS and BCIM regions are seen as essential for the development of China s southern provinces Bear in mind that Yunnan Province and Guangxi autonomous region are the second and fourth poorest provinces on a per capita basis in China respectively Given that officials rely heavily on the prospect of growing inland zones of prosperity to fuel future economic prospects of these land locked areas it is not surprising that Yunnan Province with a population of 45 million and to a lesser extent Guangxi autonomous region with a population of over 50 million has an immense interest and energy in driving Chinese economic policy towards the GMS and BCIM regions Over the past decade and since Myanmar s ostracism by the West after the military s crackdown against protesters in 1988 China has spent billions building roads rail and other infrastructure to support border commerce between the two countries While cross border trade between China and Myanmar constitutes less than 1 per cent of overall Chinese trade with all countries trade with Myanmar made up more than three quarters of Yunnan s total border trade and over 12 per cent of its annual foreign trade in 2010 Myanmar is Yunnan s largest export market its second largest import market and an important hub for Yunnan businesses looking to expand into the rest of south east and south Asia True the fact that China has done relatively less to help develop the grassroots economy of Myanmar says much about the failure and limitations of the Chinese approach to economic statecraft and development vis à vis its neighbours But Beijing s determination to drive the creation of inland zones of commerce trade and prosperity with China as the dominant hub and in areas largely out of reach of firms from maritime Asia is real formidable and enduring This has strategic considerations which are also largely ignored in Australia The major maritime countries are

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/30/economy/ambitious-china-goes-land-roving (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Prison may unlock a political opportunity for Bo Xilai | Business Spectator
    current leaders are not about to let that happen What about the case itself Chinese leaders have been assiduously portraying the case as simply one about corruption and a sign of President Xi s determination to clean up the graft in officialdom Tales of Bo s lavish lifestyle when he was still leading Chongqing suggest that he is the beneficiary of ill gotten gains Yet one must remember that he was charged with receiving bribes amounting to US3 2 million and embezzlement of a further US1 2 million amounting to US 4 4 million all up This is nothing to scoff at but this must be put in perspective The former Premier Wen Jiabao and his family are worth an astonishing US2 7 billion A Bloomberg investigation last year revealed that President Xi s family are worth around US376 million with his sister Qi Qiaoqiao alone worth US 288 million even if there is no evidence that Xi has himself engaged in graft The point is that a life sentence for stealing US4 4 million of public money is clearly a disproportionate punishment As one Chinese blogger argued sarcastically Bo should be praised and rewarded for only stealing US4 4 million after three decades in Chinese politics Moreover in defending himself Bo raised many internal party goings on and other matters which amount to airing of the Party s dirty laundry Normally the public and media would be barred from witnessing the proceedings of such as case Yet Bo s case was touted as a historic open trial to showcase the country s judicial transparency with transcripts of court proceedings immediately posted online each day The CCP would have been well aware that domestic and international press was following and reporting the trial closely But this was no baby step towards judicial reform in China it was a political show trial through and through An unrepentant Bo received a harsh sentence as everyone expected Yet the show trial might yet come back to haunt the current Party leaders if things go pear shaped for the Chinese economy and its tentative and possibly failing reform process in the future The vast majority of officials being tried for corruption break down in court express remorse and beg for mercy knowing that the guilty verdict is pre determined But Bo was not just defiant unbowed and unapologetic but also charming persuasive and eloquent when it came to his defence He spoke compellingly about the unjust motivation of his political enemies now in power that his injustice represented the injustice of well connected have versus unconnected have nots That Bo in reality is a princeling and certainly not a clean one matters not a jot Protesters held up signs outside the courtroom with slogans such as don t let the corrupt try the clean in full view of national media Blog sites in and out of his former power base of Chongqing suggest that he won the public relations war and it was the

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/10/2/politics/prison-may-unlock-political-opportunity-bo-xilai (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • China’s FDI obstacle course | Business Spectator
    listed are generally permitted The classification for various industries is largely based on China s industrial policies encapsulated in documents such as the Five Year Plan For example national champions are encouraged in so called strategic industries such as bio technology alternative energy high end equipment manufacturing energy conservation clean energy vehicles new materials and information technology Other designated important industries such as fossil fuel energy heavy industry chemicals banking and finance insurance construction and property generally fall into the restricted categories Importantly newly announced industrial policy by various ministries can override the Foreign Investment Catalogue guidance at any time without notification and with no recourse to appeal In particular the NDRC has a record of continually changing the goalposts through announcing policy to enhance domestic ownership especially by state owned enterprises or SOEs at short notice Ongoing policy also consistently removes industries from the encouraged classification to the restricted or prohibited classification making it harder or impossible for foreign firms to enter or thrive in these sectors The next stage is to formally obtain government approval To do so requires negotiating past a two step review process First under China s Anti Monopoly Law the Ministry of Commerce will review any merger or acquisition of assets by a foreign company when the joint turnover of the foreign and domestic entity in the case of a joint venture or the foreign entity in the case of a wholly owned foreign enterprise in China exceeds RMB 400 million or about US65 million The Ministry simply access whether the transaction has the capacity to eliminate or restrict competition with little consistent guidance as to how it reaches that assessment Second government approval is subject to a National Security Review if the foreign enterprise will gain formal or actual control of the local asset A panel of representatives from the Ministry NDRC and other unspecified departments and agencies will assess whether the acquisition involves entry into the Military and military support space is located in the vicinity of key and or sensitive military facilities is an enterprise associated with National Defence and Security or is an enterprise engaged in sectors that relate to national security This latter specification covers a broad range of sectors and includes key technologies major equipment manufacturing agricultural products energy and resources infrastructure and transportation services Once again the definition of sectors that relate to national security changes according to industrial policy not just national security policy If this obstacle is negotiated there are then a number of formalities ranging from getting corporate name approval to approval for site registration There are also some fairly normal administrative hoops to jump through including getting project and environmental approval for the business activity which are not unique to the Chinese system The fifth step is to gain approval from the Ministry of Commerce This is another opportunity to knock back FDI based on wide ranking criteria which includes Damage to China s sovereignty or the social public interest risk to state

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/9/18/economy/chinas-fdi-obstacle-course (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Trade numbers cut China down to size | Business Spectator
    the same year Singapore was behind 42 8 per cent the UK 5 8 per cent and ASEAN Association of South east Asian Nation states as a whole behind 43 3 per cent The absence of Chinese FDI dominance is also clear in Thailand In 2006 the figure was a tiny US 15 8 million compared to US 230 million in 2011 large growth in absolute terms But in relative terms the story is different In 2011 cumulative or outstanding Chinese FDI into Thailand was US 1 23 billion In comparison Japanese share of cumulative FDI was US 46 9 billion the EU s share US 25 9 billion Singapore s share US 24 11 billion and America s share US 13 4 billion ASEAN s share as a whole was US 27 68 billion To complete the trilogy let s take Malaysia In 2005 Chinese FDI into the country totalled US 56 7 million rising to US 95 1 million at the end of 2011 This represented about 0 5 per cent of all FDI into Malaysia in 2011 In comparison Japan accounted for over 15 per cent of FDI in 2011 South Korea just under 8 per cent the US and Singapore just under 4 per cent respectively and Saudi Arabia just over 3 per cent Indeed Chinese FDI into ASEAN trade dependent countries with relatively open economies Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Vietnam and the Philippines have generally increased by very similar levels to increases in intra ASEAN FDI over the past decade around 22 23 per cent per annum This means that Chinese investment is an important component of regional investment but by no means dominant In fact Japan and Singapore are far more important FDI sources for the region than China and will remain so for the foreseeable future Let s now turn to trade Volume of trade with China by all these three Southeast Asian countries is rising rapidly Even then two way trade growth between these countries on the one hand and China on the other has generally matched intra ASEAN trade growth and growth between ASEAN countries and the other two East Asian giants Japan and South Korea all growing at about 30 to 35 per cent per annum over the past decade Once again we need to look behind the headline figures to work out what is really going on One can find a powerful clue in the fact that when the consumer economies of the US and EU stagnate trade between China and these three ASEAN countries decline or else stagnate in absolute terms as occurred in 2009 2010 What does this indicate Even after decades of rapid regional growth it is often missed that the domestic consumption markets of the US and EU are over US11 trillion each compared to a Chinese domestic consumption market of under US3 trillion respectively After all the genuine consumer class in China consumers with the buying power of middle classes in middle and high income countries number less than 100 million Moreover booming trade with China merely reflects the fact that regional and Western export manufacturers have largely outsourced many stages of production to the ASEAN 3 ASEAN China South Korea and Japan countries and have done so since the 1990s This is clear from figures indicating that America s deficit in manufactured goods is almost entirely with Asia while almost all of America s trade deficit with China is in processing trade in contrast to ordinary trade where the product is solely produced in the one country before being exported The recent difference particularly since early this century is that China s rise has caused many firms to relocate export orientated manufacturing processes from countries such as Thailand and Malaysia to China s Pearl River Delta region This is reflected in the fact that around two thirds of America s trade deficit is with China and much of the remaining third with the other ASEAN 3 economies such as Japan South Korea and Malaysia For example the US had a significant trade deficit of US14 billion in 2011 with Thailand on bilateral volume of US40 billion Indeed the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has indicated that foreign enterprises account for over half of China s exports and imports with the lion share of FDI traditionally going into the export manufacturing sector More than 55 per cent of export manufacturing growth in China is driven by the activities of foreign firms Regarding the ASEAN 3 economies as a whole the evidence is that over two thirds of the value of exports from the region eventually end up in the EU and US markets rising from about half in 2006 It is clear that export manufacturers view the ASEAN 3 region as a vast production chain with little discrimination as to where they locate production processes beyond commercial motivations of cost and reliability This is important because such a trade structure gives Beijing far less capacity to use trade for political or strategic purposes than is often assumed If Beijing were to prevent Thai or Malaysia firms for example from exporting components to China for assembly this would merely harm its own export manufacturing sector which employs around 10 per cent of the workforce or approximately 75 million people with deleterious consequences for local export manufacturing employment export orientated FDI and any resulting technology transfer that might occur ASEAN firms would simply relocate part of the production process elsewhere Given the complexity of intra firm trade in the production process it would be extremely difficult for Beijing to quarantine any fallout to just Thai or Malaysian manufacturing firms as these firms are likely to be in partnership with other multi national corporations in the production process American and European consumers remain far more important to the bottom line of Southeast Asian manufacturing firms than the Chinese consumer and will be so for quite some time even if the potential of the latter generate the headlines But

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/9/4/economy/trade-numbers-cut-china-down-size (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The investment test that has Beijing trailing | Business Spectator
    getting your domestic requirements From the proprietor s point of view the loss of significant business will hurt his bottom line and he ll have to work harder to increase sales elsewhere Now imagine that you re an investor in the butchery A breakdown in your relationship with the mayor and a resulting ban against you coming anywhere near the butchery is much more serious You can no longer oversee the running of the business let alone work in it If things take a turn for the worse it ll be difficult to sell your stake in the business If the mayor decides to seize your equity in the business you lose a major asset It s in your overriding interest to do whatever it takes to make peace with and appease the mayor At the very least you ll be reluctant to invest again in that town until a new mayor is in office In essence trade is a series of generally recurring but stand alone transactions that is of benefit to both parties Once the transaction is completed the relationship potentially ends If Country A needs less of our stuff we quickly move on and build relationships with Country B recognising that there are normally transaction costs with shifting suppliers or identifying new buyers But trade is ultimately much more indiscriminate and fluid The relationship between governments on the basis of trade is also much more indiscriminate Sure Canberra wants a good relationship with Beijing in order to facilitate a smooth trading relationship for Australian firms But if Australian firms move on and identify new opportunities in say India Indonesia or Vietnam Australian diplomacy will follow suit At the end of the day Canberra doesn t care whether Rio Tinto receives the bulk of its revenues from China or from some other rising giant in the future as long as it gets its share of taxation revenue The FDI relationship in the eyes of both governments and firms is very different From the firm s point of view FDI is an investment of considerable capital manpower and the firm s brand and reputation in a foreign jurisdiction and political economic system for a substantial period of time meaning that it is a far better indicator of economic integration and intimacy than trade Getting out prematurely will invariably entail a significant sunk cost and loss of the firm s and management s reputation Any private or government owned firm generally in step with their own government s advice needs to be confident about the economic opportunities available in that country It s also a vote of confidence in the current and future stability fairness and trustworthiness of that political economy and that the firm s equity interests and promised commercial access will be protected by the host government Moreover well over two thirds of trade between China and other major countries is intra firm processing trade that is importing raw material and parts into China for assembly or further processing and then shipping these products out again Around three quarters of the final destination of products stamped Made in China is America or the European Union This is important in this context because it means that China has simply become a major part of a regional production chain for the Western consumer rather than a domestic consumption market that can compete with the industrialised Western world China s emergence as an export manufacturing hub is great for manufacturing multi national corporations seeking efficiency gains But it also means that there is intense competition for manufacturing jobs between China and economies such as Vietnam Thailand the Philippines Indonesia and Malaysia Moreover much of Asia aside from advanced economies such as Japan needs foreign capital to develop rapidly which is why FDI matters at least as much as trade Note that a massive influx of Chinese capital and aid for nation building infrastructure projects more so than trade is the main reason Cambodia believes it has no choice but to enter Beijing s political sphere of influence But host governments in the more important maritime Asian economies are reluctant to allow foreign equity whether it be private or sovereign owned into key sectors of their economy unless there s a pre established diplomatic relationship and political trust between the two governments as well as adequate harmonisation of regulatory taxation legal and other standards Incidentally this is Huawei s problem in Australia and the reason why Swedish company Ericsson is far more welcome than Huawei despite our trade relationship with the Chinese Let s look at some comparative figures of FDI in the economies of key players in Asia Let s begin with Japan In 2012 the cumulative FDI into Japan was over US206 billion The US accounted for almost US62 billion EU over US95 billion and Singapore US15 4 billion Cumulative Chinese FDI was only US552 million or less than 0 26 per cent of all FDI in Japan A similar story can be told for a so called strategic swing states such as Thailand and Indonesia Cumulative Chinese FDI into Thailand is under US2 billion This compares to over US46 billion by Japan US26 billion by the EU US24 billion by Singapore and US13 billion by the US In Indonesia Japan accounted for about 28 per cent of FDI in 2010 US 4 3 per cent and the rest of ASEAN as a whole 44 4 per cent China accounted for only 2 7 per cent The same can be said for Chinese FDI in Australia despite all the attention it receives The US UK and Japan account for the top three positions in cumulative FDI into Australia at 24 per cent 14 per cent and 11 per cent respectively The Netherlands Switzerland Singapore British Virgin Islands Canada and Germany follow China is 10th at about 3 per cent of FDI stock in Australia These figures bring more accurate perspective in countering runaway talk about a China dominated Asian economic

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/7/10/china/investment-test-has-beijing-trailing (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • A pliant China is just California dreamin' | Business Spectator
    same can be said for emerging manufacturing centres such as Vietnam and Indonesia Washington would consider it an abrogation of its duty to protect the country s commercial interests were it to cede the western Pacific Ocean to a strategic rival Furthermore the growing developing consumer markets in Asia are essential to America s future economic fortunes especially if a manufacturing revival occurs as many expect due to lower energy costs from the shale oil gas revolution and increasing robotics which will remove higher American labour costs from the equation The role of modern military power is to ensure that essential markets remain open and accessible for one s own stakeholders in addition to the traditional role of safeguarding national sovereignty In America s case the role of the Seventh Fleet in ensuring strategic stability and free and open access to maritime trade routes will become even more important in the future No American president or Congress could ever persuade the American public to cede control and rely on the good will of the Chinese People s Liberation Army Navy to fulfil this role This leads to the second problem of trusting Chinese intentions and strategic character There are many structural factors preventing strategic trust between China and the US that is established and rising powers rarely truly get along More than this Beijing claims over almost all of the South China Sea and declaratory policy that it is willing to use force to defend these claims creates doubt that China would offer free and open access to critical maritime trading routes to all nations irrespective of the state of political relations with Beijing Indeed Beijing has already shown that it is willing to use economic tools to punish the strategic and political decisions of other nations Examples include temporarily halting rare earths exports to Japan over disputes in the East China Sea supporting a boycott of Japanese branded goods over the same issue temporarily banning banana imports from the Philippines over disputes in the South China Sea and halting energy imports from Mongolia over the latter s initial decision to receive the Dalai Lama If the People s Liberation Army Navy were to control the sea lanes in East and Southeast Asia few doubt that Beijing would be a less impartial keeper of the peace than Washington s Seventh Fleet This is supplemented by the suspicion that Beijing takes a fundamentally hierarchical view of state to state relations As an angry Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told Southeast Asian counterparts during a 2010 ASEAN Regional Foreign Meeting when confronted about the inflexibility of Chinese claims over 80 per cent of the South China Sea China is a big country and other countries are small countries and that is just a fact The same sentiment was repeated in a recent editorial in the state owned and run China Daily that scolded Europeans for considering sanctions against Chinese solar panel exports by remarking that times change and power rises and falls Still this has not changed the deep rooted haughty attitudes of certain Europeans The point is not about whether China should rightly feel aggrieved about European complaints on this issue or not It is an issue of whether China will elevate itself above agreed dispute resolution procedures and constraints vis à vis smaller powers based on the mindset that large powers ought to simply get their way in the end This brings me to a third reason why a Chinese G2 would never work If such an arrangement is designed to ensure stability it will likely achieve the opposite The consistent grand strategy of almost all modern Asian nation states is to resist domination by another Asian state hence a widespread preference that non Asian America remain the primary strategic actor Were America to cede Asia it is unlikely that countries like Japan Vietnam or Australia would meekly submit to a Chinese dominated order Without its America ally it is likely that Japan would quickly acquire a nuclear weapons capacity and revise its post World War Two pacifist constitution South Korea would seriously entertain the nuclear option in response Vietnam a long time adversary of China s would not stand still militarily leading to significant military force upgrades throughout the Greater Mekong Region Neither would Indonesia Malaysia and Singapore meaning that Australia would also have to respond The overall outcome would be a much more competitive dangerous and unpredictable arms race The message is that strategic Asia is about more than the US and China and any scheme with this flawed assumption will lead to a flawed design Back to the weekend s summit between Presidents Obama and Xi Did it achieve anything of substance Not really Chinese entities will continue to hack into American corporate servers and Washington will continue to complain about it But diplomacy is a hard grind and the US and China do take part in hundreds of dialogues over all manner of issues Summits such as the one at Sunnylands Estate and the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue will catch the headlines But the hundreds of small seemingly prosaic agreements on processes and outcomes are yielding results both sides have managed to de escalate a number of potential crises over the past few years A hard and boring diplomatic grind and not a new type of great power relations characterised by a G2 is the better bet for the future Dr John Lee is the Michael Hintze Fellow and adjunct associate professor at the Centre for International Security Studies Sydney University He is also a non resident senior scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC and a director of the Kokoda Foundation in Canberra Print this page More from John Lee 02 Jan The political rot in Mao s sugar coated legacy 18 Dec China s self serving moon shot 04 Dec Counting on a Chinese olive branch 27 Nov China s salami slicing is dicey diplomacy 13 Nov A long march for China

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/6/12/politics/pliant-china-just-california-dreamin (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • China's pragmatic Middle Eastern surprise | Business Spectator
    relationship with the Israeli Defence Forces even though Israel is an American ally and maintains an export ban on high technology defence equipment to China Like Beijing Tel Aviv feels strategically isolated and surrounded and takes a purely pragmatic approach to any foreign regime when it will serve its interests What is motivating China in this case Beijing s desire for stability and peace in that order in the Middle East is genuine It currently imports over half of its oil and most if it comes from the Middle East By 2020 it is estimated that about four fifths of its oil needs will come from the Middle East almost all shipped through American patrolled waters Even though the PLA s strategists fear strangulation by the American Seventh Fleet it has become apparent to Beijing that its greatest energy security threat is instability in a major oil producing country that could jeopardize reliable and affordable supply This is something that American or Chinese aircraft carriers will have limited role in shaping or preventing It has also dawned on Beijing that for a region of such immense importance to its future China has relatively little role or standing in the Middle East which would offer it some chance of shaping events into the future or at least helping to stabilise the region As recent events demonstrate the cosy formula of signing exclusive resource contracts with authoritarian governments can fail when those regimes fall as occurred in Libya likely Syria and perhaps one day in Iran Besides the large oil supplier governments like Saudi Arabia will never enter into large scale exclusive supply agreements with China as African governments in places like Angola and Sudan have done Although the Israeli Palestinian issue has no direct impact on its energy supply calculations Beijing has been searching for non military avenues to extend its influence and standing in the broader Middle East and role of peacemaker in the region s most high profile dispute is potentially one It must be said that in these early days China has no clear strategy for what it wants to achieve with whom or how Presenting a peace plan or offering to hold an Israeli Palestinian peace summit are hastily conceived stabs in the dark But it knows it needs new friends outside Iran and Syria and more relevance and skin in a region that holds the key to its energy security future There is also another motivation Beijing s need to improve its standing amongst the Muslim states of the Middle East speaks to one of its great vulnerabilities We generally focus on Chinese activities in the maritime domains of the Indo Pacific But Beijing views its geo strategic future not just vertically but horizontally as evinced by its relatively recent articulated Go West strategy This involves not just holding on to the traditionally Muslim dominated Xinjiang Autonomous Region but winning friends and acquiring influence in countries such as Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Afghanistan and Pakistan The future geo strategic great game is not just American and Chinese rivalry in the Indo Pacific but American Sino Russian rivalry in the Eurasian continental heartland As its continual troubles in Xinjiang demonstrate Beijing needs to engineer an enduring Sino Islamic Entente of sorts to achieve this To be sure the Muslim world is culturally alien and bewildering to the Han Chinese and far from homogenous Any constructive role in an Israeli Palestinian peace process is unlikely to earn Beijing meaningful brownie points amongst Muslims in Central Asia or even throughout the Middle East But as China grows in global prominence it would be domestic disaster were Beijing viewed as an enemy of Islam as Muslim elements in Xinjiang could attract sympathisers and supporters Such a reputation would also mean an increase resistance to its influence as its interests expand westwards across Central Asia It is no coincidence that Beijing has consistently emphasised its support for an independent Palestinian state when meeting with leaders of Islamic republics To counter its record of cultural and religious intolerance in Xinjiang Beijing is desperate that it be seen as a partner of Islamic actors rather than a suppressor of them Under the previous generation of leaders China s strategy of win friends and influence governments in far off places has been largely defined by an attempt to buy them over through massive economic aid and other no strings attached payments while joining with Russia to offer many regimes protection in the UN Security Council This will continue but it will not be sufficient Great powers have to play a more clever and constructive bilateral and multilateral game China will not be the circuit breaker that will bring peace to the Middle East But it cannot simply hide brightness and cherish obscurity and watch passively as events unfold in regions of the world that greatly affect its interests It neighbours such as Japan Vietnam the Philippines and India will remain wary But playing the role of constructive peacemaker is how it would like to rebrand itself to the world Dr John Lee is the Michael Hintze Fellow and adjunct associate professor at the Centre for International Security Studies Sydney University He is also a non resident senior scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC and a director of the Kokoda Foundation in Canberra Print this page More from John Lee 02 Jan The political rot in Mao s sugar coated legacy 18 Dec China s self serving moon shot 04 Dec Counting on a Chinese olive branch 27 Nov China s salami slicing is dicey diplomacy 13 Nov A long march for China s national champions Related articles 13 Jan Palmer wants to repeal Newman laws 12 Jan Israel s Sharon dead at 85 12 Jan Vic energy minister to step down 12 Jan Trade pact is close Robb 10 Jan Robb casts doubt on handouts More from Business Spectator Technology Adapt or die Commercial The Future of Energy Family Business Alan Kohler s

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/5/14/politics/chinas-pragmatic-middle-eastern-surprise (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Can Australia and China speak the same language? | Business Spectator
    who are not all serving officials discussion is contested and debate is genuine Can the AALD model work between Australia and China It is clear that there will be several difficulties First the AALD is between two countries with a long history of shared interests and values It is far easier to find constructive common ground on disagreements between such two countries meaning that debates and the airing of grievances are likely to be more constructive for having had them Indeed both countries come from societies where open debates between officials and other experts is encouraged and seen as a healthy activity Moreover because of the extent of operational cooperation in military multilateral and economic affairs Australia has a legitimate standing as an essential stakeholder to praise or criticise American policy For example it would have been completely acceptable that there be debate and disagreement within and between both camps about the rotation of American marines through Darwin More broadly serving and private citizens from Australia have little hesitation critiquing American regional policy in front senior American officials Any disagreements even if heated are easily accommodated by the deep relationship between the two countries and allies Second and to be blunt it is difficult to have an honest upfront conversation in a dialogue setting with Chinese officials and experts when there is disagreement about sensitive issues which to Chinese officials tend to cover all issues that are in dispute Chinese officials do not deviate from the official line of reasoning and policy Likewise independent experts and other stakeholders in the Chinese system depend on Chinese Communist Party entities and officials for the position career and promotion In a meeting setting Chinese delegates will not differ from the official state position Doing so is not healthy for their future career prospects It is well known that many Chinese delegates in a variety of contexts will tell you their true viewpoints in an individual conversation usually over a few drinks But the value of dialogues such as the one suggested by Loosley is that issues be raised and discussed by delegates in a common setting This simply will not happen in any prospective Australia China Leadership Dialogue Third even in a privately organised Dialogue involving senior officials and influential experts officials in Beijing will insist on decisive input into the agenda Any deviation in that agreed agenda will cause Chinese delegates to disengage for fear of negative career ramifications Controversial or even unscripted issues will be stonewalled by Chinese participants in a common setting or else provoke a straightforward reiteration of official policy Anyone who has been involved in large meetings involving Chinese officials will agree This would defeat the whole purpose of a Dialogue organised by an independent entity a quality which is behind the success of the AALD Fourth while disagreement with influential Americans and American policy carry few negative consequences the same cannot be said about China We hold little fears about disagreements between allies and friends Raising disagreements

    Original URL path: http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/5/1/china/can-australia-and-china-speak-same-language (2014-01-12)
    Open archived version from archive