Thursday, January 7, 2016

view from Beijing

The story goes that the newly arrived American ambassador went to the national day celebrations where the maximum leader was to speak. Not knowing the local language, he told his translator, "You don't need to tell me anything until he says 'but' or 'however,' then give me every word."

A good rule. I thought of it as I read the piece by the chair of the foreign affairs committee of  China's National Peoples Congress in the Financial Times.
The western-centred world order dominated by the US has made great contributions to human progress and economic growth. But those contributions lie in the past. Now that same order is like an adult in children’s clothes.It is failing to adjust.
Fu Ying goes on to criticize the US-dominated system and suggesting that China is growing in importance but is "not ready to propose a new design."

I'm not sure that China is ready for long pants itself. The economy is slowing; its currency is falling; the stock market is plunging -- today trading was halted after 28 minutes because of rapid decline.

And the one international problem that's in China's lap, North Korea, has just tested a nuclear device after assuring China that it wouldn't.  The view from Beijing isn't just saturated with smog; it's also clouded with uncertainty over how China can play a great power role. 

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