News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, May 12, 2006

CHINA AND THE “OTHER” WEST: THE EUROPEAN UNION, AUSTRALIA, CANADA AND NEW ZEALAND: China’s relationship with Europe has always had a strong focus on economic and trade interactions via the Silk Road; the Cohong system of the 18th and early 19th centuries; and under Beijing’s unequal treaty relationship during the “100 years of humiliation” in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. In the post-Cold War period, China’s relationship with Europe has been guided by economic considerations. In 2005, the European Union emerged as China’s leading trade partner while Canada and Australia were China’s ninth and tenth largest trading partners respectively (Chinese Ministry of Commerce). New Zealand is the first Western state to grant China the status of “market economy” while Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to New Zealand in April reaffirmed China’s commitment to implementing a free trade agreement with New Zealand within two years, making New Zealand potentially the first developed Western country to reach a free trade agreement with China.
...Canada has the world’s second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and investing in oil sands remains a lucrative venture as long as oil prices remain high. In May 2005, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) acquired a 40 percent stake in Canada's Northern Lights oil sands project and in April 2005 China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) acquired one-sixth of MEG Energy Corporation. PetroChina has also signed a preliminary agreement to buy half of the crude transported through the Gateway project, an oil pipeline being developed by Enbridge to connect Alberta to Canada's Pacific coast (Dow Jones News, April 8). Some in the United States have expressed concern over China’s growing energy interests in its backyard, especially as the U.S. is Canada’s leading oil export market.
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has made a surprise transit stop in Libya, on his way home from Latin America. The Chinese "sought brutally and savagely to block the transit stops and foreign trips of our senior officials," Mr Chen said as he left Taipei.
Hepatitis Risk for East Asians in New York : The study, led by researchers at New York University School of Medicine, found that 15 percent of east Asians in New York — as many as 100,000 people — are chronic hepatitis carriers, with the rate highest among immigrants from China. That infection rate is 35 times the rate found in the general population.
MIRRORING TAIWAN: CHINA AND CUBA - On the surface, Sino-Cuba relations may be difficult to take seriously. Hu Jintao heads the world’s largest and most explosively developing county while Fidel Castro stands astride a faraway, skinny island with one of the most stagnant economies in the world. In 1960 Cuba was the first Latin American country to recognize China’s new communist government. Yet early friendly relations turned sour toward the end of the decade with the emergence of the Sino-Soviet dispute. Since Castro saw his “destiny” as waging a war against the United States, he needed the kind of financial support and military shield that only Moscow could then provide.
...Fidel Castro has long attracted disciples from Berkeley to Hanoi, but he has never been able to make his small country work. Indeed, with few exceptions, he is regarded as an economic “numbskull” (a term he used in 1979 to characterize Deng Xiaoping) of epic proportions who has almost always had to rely on massive handouts from foreign patrons.
...Cuba is believed to have the world’s third largest nickel reserves and Beijing is pumping $500 million into doubling the island’s annual production. There are smaller Chinese investments in directional drilling rigs and other products for oil exploration and production. Beijing has given aid, postponed debt repayments and arranged credit with preferential interest rates and repayment schedules.
...Of particular interest is a comment attributed to Hu Jintao in late-2004, stating that "in ideological supervision, we should learn from Cuba and North Korea" (Kai Fang, December 2004). Yinghong Cheng said in an interview that the comment has circulated widely among Chinese intellectuals and is thought to reflect a Maoist-leftist tendency in Hu's thinking and governance (May 7), as does his relationship with Castro.
Vietnamese woman 'sold at market' Malaysian media reported that a 60-year-old man paid some $5,000 (£2,700) for her, possibly as a bride. Reports said she had run out of money in Malaysia and offered herself for sale as a means of raising some cash.
"All actions relating to illegal marriage intermediation must be strictly banned." Biff- All... illegal... must be... banned. - A common sort of developing nation tautology.
South Korea recently apologised to Vietnam after a newspaper ran a Seoul picture of Vietnamese women lining up for a prospective Korean husband.

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