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CHINA POST #475

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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.

In this China Post I begin with a significant admission by the US former Secretary of State that internal political divisions in the US are hurting the US. Item 2 focuses on China’s growing role in the Middle East. Item 3 looks at Putin’s comments on the importance of China-Russia relations and  Item 4 comments on speculation by economists about  China’s current annual growth rate

CAN A DIVIDED USA DETER CHINA AND RUSSIA?

ROBERT GATES, FORMER US SECRETARY OF DEFENCE

29 SEPTEMBER 2023

Not since the Korean War has the United States had to contend with powerful military rivals in both Europe and Asia. And no one alive can remember a time when an adversary had as much economic, scientific, technological, and military power as China does today.

The problem, however, is that at the very moment that events demand a strong and coherent response from the United States, the country cannot provide one. Its fractured political leadership—Republican and Democratic, in the White House and in Congress—has failed to convince enough Americans that developments in China and Russia matter. Political leaders have failed to explain how the threats posed by these countries are interconnected. They have failed to articulate a long-term strategy to ensure that the United States, and democratic values more broadly, will prevail.

Congress has descended into bickering, incivility, and brinkmanship; and successive presidents have either disavowed or done a poor job explaining America’s global role. To contend with such powerful, risk-prone adversaries, the United States needs to up its game in every dimension. Only then can it hope to deter Xi and Putin from making more bad bets. The peril is real.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST  6 OCTOBER 2023

CHINA – ARAB RELATIONS STRENGTHEN

Officials from China and the Arab world said on Thursday that they expect a steady – and possibly dramatic – increase in trade over the coming years, as the Middle East develops and Beijing gets more involved there amid tense relations with its Western trading partners.

The value of overall trade between China and Arab states reached US$431.4 billion last year, up from US$222.4 billion a decade ago, according to Xinhua. “China and the Middle East have always been good partners,” Chen Weiqing, Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said at a forum during the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong. “These past few years, China and the Middle East have been continuing to co-develop in a healthy way.”

China’s trade with just the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – home of the booming commercial hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi – should exceed US$200 billion by 2030, said Zhang Liming, China’s special ambassador to the Persian Gulf country. That figure was just US$75.6 billion in 2021.

In 2018, President Xi Jinping made a state visit to the UAE to solidify bilateral relations. And during his more recent visit to Saudi Arabia in December, Xi pledged to work towards widening the use of the yuan for settlements of Middle Eastern oil and gas purchases.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 6 OCTOBER 2023

PUTIN ON CHINA

China and Russia are “important factors” for global stability, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, as he pledged to increase security and economic cooperation with Beijing in the face of a confrontational and “bloc-based” Western order.

US policy towards China was based on “geopolitical fears” about Beijing’s growing power, Putin said, warning that the Western “bloc-based” approach of trying to maintain hegemony threatened global peace, while Russia and China aimed to do good for the world.

“Cooperation between Russia and the People’s Republic of China is, of course, a very important factor stabilising the world,” he said. “It is aimed exclusively at achieving a positive result both for us – Russia and China – and for our partners around the world.”

Washington’s focus on strengthening Asia-Pacific alliances in a bid to counter Beijing in the South and East China Seas and Taiwan, have also often been cited as examples of Nato’s eastward expansion.

[China-Russia] also aimed to set up new logistics routes and projects that better synergised China’s Belt and Road Initiative and infrastructure networks within the Eurasian Economic Union, he said, referring to Russia’s grouping with former Soviet states Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.  “The BRICS expansion is very important,” said Putin.

NIKKEI  ASIA  6 OCTOBER 2023

FORECASTS FOR CHINA’S ECONOMY

Economists have lowered their forecasts for China’s full-year economic growth to 5% year-on-year, citing turmoil in the housing market and the lack of effective stimulus measures.

The average gross domestic product forecast for 2023 by 29 analysts has fallen by 0.5 percentage points, with 26 economists revising down their outlook from the previous quarter, according to the latest survey conducted by Nikkei and Nikkei Quick News.

The range of forecasts for the world’s second-largest economy was between 4.5% and 5.6%, with 12 economists’ predictions coming in below Beijing’s official target of around 5%.

“The property downturn has deepened, external demand has weakened further, and policy support has been less than expected,” said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS. She revised her growth rate forecast down to 4.8% from 5.2% previously.

GRAHAM PERRY

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