is significant that US Treasury Secretary John Snow arrived in Beijing
on the heels of the six-party talks concerning peace on the peninsula.
arrived to discuss the undervalued yuan, which may be held up during
next year's elections as the dead rat fouling up Sino-US
relations. The yuan is pegged to the dollar and does not reflect
situation – a strengthening of the yuan would hurt Chinese exports
and ease a little of the pressure on US manufacturers, so they say.
As it stands now, the Chinese economy is blowing up the competition,
growing at somewhere between 8 and 10 percent and Chinese companies
are forecasting ridiculous growth over the next three years.
products that mirror big foreign brands (Pringles, Coca Cola, McDonalds
even KFC) are hogging all the room on the shelves in the local (French-owned)
Carrefour and sell at half the price. These cheap, decent goods
are why China faces hundreds of "dumping" cases at the
WTO and why Snow arrived to ask for a little slack.
left Beijing with a promise from the Chinese to reevaluate sometime
deep into the future when China is good and ready. China
has also said that any pressure to reevaluate might cause a
in the steady purchase of US Treasuries.
before Snow left, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi mentioned
briefly in the Philippines that the US had been the "main obstacle"
during the talks. After the Russian and the S. Korean delegations
chimed in, the belligerent
squawking coming from N. Korea began to make (slight) sense.
US is the pivotal player in these talks – during and after the talks,
the US remained very quiet, releasing muted public statements on
"further talks" and a willingness to talk more about "more
for more." While the DPRK hollered "useless," the
US made as if all efforts had been made to sit and negotiate. More
for more seems to me the mantra, but no one is prepared to give.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi's comments, against the backdrop of the
currency problems, seem to be a double rebuff, aimed at US intractable
behavior at the negotiating table and arrogant behavior in the marketplace.
by the DPRK's (rather tired) response, the US probably did promise
nothing (as usual) until N. Korea completely dismantles its nuclear
program. If there truly is a line of strategy in the Bush Administration
that entails N. Korea calling the US bluff, in some horribly insane
act of provocation and/or bloodshed, then Lord help us all.
concerning the reevaluation of the yuan: if the US really does push
the envelope and China responds in (economic) kind, the two may
find themselves in a world of hurt and taking everybody else down
came from where the DPRK is. Patriotism with a fascist mask helped
sustain China during the years of chaos following actual liberation;
it took an old cadre twice brought back from the dead to steer the
nation back. The DPRK has no such cadre: just fanatical patriotism
and stifling fascism.
the fervor driving the expansion of a US Empire lies in a calm,
patriotic belief that "we are right." The calm air of
superiority the US has been affecting throughout the talks should
be reflected in superior acts of graciousness, not childish games
can die, but patriotism only bleeds. Counting on these nations to
fold is senseless.
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is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily,
and elsewhere. His exclusive Antiwar.com column (usually) appears
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