A Questioning Asia Waits for the Donald

A Questioning Asia Waits for the DonaldWhen Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States on Jan.20, we'll still be guessing which of his tweets foreshadows real intent and which are simply tactical ground-leveling prior to cutting deals, apparently Trump's preferred way of doing business. By the evidence so far, observers can only hope that the president-elect and…

Trump’s Trip to Reality

Trump’s Trip to RealityUS President-elect Donald Trump faces the delicate question of how to deal with two of the world’s most powerful leaders as soon as he sits down in the oval office of the White House after his inauguration on January 20. His dealing with both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping will have…

China Matches Economic Clout with Growing Military Might

China Matches Economic Clout with Growing Military MightWhile  focus remains on how China is extending its Asian profile through construction of rail and road networks and economic corridors throughout the region, little attention has been paid to how it is translating its economic wealth into military power — power that the budding empire intends to use not just to protect its territorial…

China Takes to the Blue Water

China Takes to the Blue WaterThe recent well-publicized venture by China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning outside of its familiar coastal waters into the western Pacific and off the coast of Taiwan, is a signal event in China’s ambition to field a true blue-water navy.  When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly…

Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development Cost

Pakistan Begins to Learn Chinese Development CostDespite the official narrative in both Beijing and Islamabad, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) an ambitious US$51 billion plan to expand and upgrade Pakistan’s infrastructure that is an integral part of Beijing’s “one belt-one road” regional master strategy, is failing to yield the expected results.   With China-Pakistan bi-lateral trade tilting heavily to the former’s…

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to China

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to ChinaChina’s gift for buying foreign political leaders has scored another triumph with the visit to Beijing of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ingratiating tone of remarks in China at least give the impression that Malaysia’s foreign policy has veered farther away from its traditional informal alliance with the US.  In the end that may…

China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

Is China’s High Savings Rate a Curse?

Is China’s High Savings Rate a Curse?The average savings rate in China is over 30 percent – that is above-average measured by any global average. In other words, a third of the income of a household does not flow back in the economy but stays blocked in a bank-account or somewhere else. Many, including the Chinese government, see this as a…

China’s Rising Pile of Infrastructure Debt

China’s Rising Pile of Infrastructure DebtWhile China’s emergence as the world’s second biggest economy has led many developing countries to Beijing as the panacea for all economic issues, especially those related to infrastructure development, the country’s leaders are awakening to a new reality: underperformance and debt heading for a crisis. A recent Oxford University titled “Does infrastructure investment lead to…

China’s Stressed Youth

China’s Stressed YouthWedding photography in China is like no other: creative, elaborate and theatrical. A couple pose next to a bucolic Tuscan hillside with its bubbling fountain and clear skies, as the photographer clicks away. Next to them is a Victorian gentleman's drinking club and a salon straight out of the Palace of Versailles. Also within view…