In a joint conclusion, the authors say the level of strategic distrust between the two countries has become so corrosive that if not corrected the countries risk becoming open antagonists.
Both Mr. Wang and Mr. Lieberthal argue that beneath the surface, both countries see deep dangers and threatening motivations in the policies of the other.
More pre-transitional chest-thumping.
A long-standing conflict over the sovereignty of a group of eight tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea has resulted in dozens of anti-Japanese protests across China, some violent. The dispute came to a head after the Japanese government nationalized control of three of the largest islands earlier this month, purchasing them from a private Japanese family for more than US$25 million. The island group is called Senkaku Islands by the Japanese, Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese, Tiaoyutai Islands by Taiwanese, or the Pinnacle Islands by English speakers. Beyond national pride, potentially large gas reserves and fishing rights have raised the stakes, and China is now moving to assert its claim to the islands, contain the demonstrations at home, and respond forcefully to what it sees as a major Japanese provocation.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters]
Finished They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? the other day. Not recommended, despite the Times’ claims to the contrary (“Uproarious!” “Hours of comic respite!” “Utterly handled!”). Turns out the excerpt I quoted a few months ago was one of the only truly good lines in the book, and the characters are flatter than a Kindle screen.
As Mr. Obama runs for re-election, his tougher line toward Beijing is showing itself on several fronts. The White House has filed two major cases in the past three months against China at the World Trade Organization, both of which Mr. Obama promoted to autoworkers in the Rust Belt. On the same day as the latest trade action, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced plans in Tokyo to help Japan deploy a new missile-defense system, which has aroused suspicion in Beijing.
With Mitt Romney charging that Mr. Obama has not stood up enough to Chinese leaders, China has suddenly become a focal point in the presidential campaign, one that encompasses both security and economic concerns and puts to the test the president’s management of a crucial, and occasionally combustible, relationship.
The Mooncakes of Hate
With the latest tension around the Diaoyu Island/ Senkaku, we have noticed that Chinese love their country and that they love to hate Japan and Japanese.
With the approaching mid-autumn festival, some Mainland’s patriots have found a new way to combine a traditional celebration of the moon and secular hatred for their neighbor.
From left to right, top to bottom
- Let’s hate Japan
- Let’s bring down Japan
- Let’s bite to death Japan
- Let’s get Japan out of here
Photo via Weibo
Is China a currency manipulator?
Some of the more complicated exchanges during the presidential debate on Tuesday involved how to deal with China’s efforts to increase its exports by keeping its currency at artificially low levels, an issue that has had considerable effects over the years on competitiveness, trade deficits and, some economists contend, American jobs.
Both candidates on Wednesday repeated the arguments they had voiced on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for not doing more to persuade China to stop intervening in currency markets. Mr. Obama said he was tougher toward Beijing than Mr. Romney would be if he were in the White House.
The two arguments obscure a more nuanced reality: adjusted for inflation, China’s currency has strengthened considerably through much of Mr. Obama’s tenure.
The U.S. Embassy in Iceland might be 70 people. Europe’s largest presence is France, with only a 20 person embassy. Why would China need one with 500 people?
The answer? Natural resources. Aluminum, rare earth metals, oil, gas, copper, gold, and possibly diamonds are irresistible wealth opportunities in the Arctic region. Melting ice will give way to new mega-mining operations like never seen before.
Then Mr. Degeorges answered his own question about China’s need — or desire — for such a large embassy in Reykjavik: “It gives you the long-term perspective that you can expect in Iceland.”
Everyone is jostling for space in the melting Arctic these days, it seems, as my colleague Elisabeth Rosenthal recently reported. That includes China, which has no Arctic territory.
Yet as the Arctic ice cap melts, it is revealing riches — principally minerals, including important rare earths, but also water, oil and gas. Greenland potentially has up to 10 percent of the world’s freshwater reserves, Mr. Degeorges said.