China finds things hard to contain in and out

City Talk | Susan Liang 3 Aug 2018

It is obvious that the United States under President Donald Trump is trying to contain the rise of China.

He met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a recent summit in Singapore without including other six-party stakeholders like Russia, Japan, China and South Korea, hoping to lure Kim with a carrot and a stick. However, it did not work as Kim is not as naive as Trump.

Kim agreed to hold the summit to get the sanctions lifted and a peace treaty signed. In fact the summit resulted in Kim moving closer to China.

Trump met Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for a similar purpose but all the Russian president wants to do is to have sanctions lifted and discuss the Syrian and Ukrainian crises and proposed a referendum to resolve the Crimean problem.

But, unfortunately for Trump, Congress and his own Republican Party does not support a rapprochement with Russia.

China now realizes it should not be trumpeting its "Made in China 2025" strategic plan (the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping was against such slogans).

Trump says his trade tariffs are based on national security grounds. This is so that the United States can avoid a World Trade Organization adjudication.

The Pentagon has a war room dealing with currency wars and now trade tariffs is also one of the weapons the United States is using but it is surprisingly using it against allies as well, with only countries like Israel and Saudi exempted as they are being used to contain Iran.

This may result in a war in the Middle East and oil prices going up, pushing the world closer to a recession.

Countries need to come up with another reserve currency other than the US dollar.

However, that is not easy.

Beijing is neither allowing the yuan to free float nor lifting its capital controls.

And the euro is not sufficiently stable or widely used, while Europe may still break up although the troubles facing British Prime Minister Theresa May are a sufficient deterrent to those in the Brexit camp. There are now voices calling for a second referendum.

Despite all the troubles facing the UK in its Brexit negotiations the UK is going to send an aircraft carrier to the South China Sea to contain China while ostensibly protecting freedom of navigation.

Notwithstanding the rise of China and its Belt and Road, and China 2025 initiatives, Beijing has failed its own people by allowing food and health scandals like the milk powder and vaccine fiascos to happen.

What China needs is accountability, which is sadly lacking,

While its fight against corruption is commendable, they should tackle more seriously food safety and health issues.

I have yet to see Beijing, instead of making making 15 arrests, set up an inquiry, like we did here with our MTR steel bar scandal to get to the root of a fiasco that involves both a listed company and the regulator.

I had occasion to meet some young mainlanders in Hong Kong recently.

They complained about the lack of freedom in China, food safety, pollution and the health care.

It's sad to see China undertaking great infrastructural projects but leaving its younger generations unhappy.

On the world stage, China may be on the rise, but at home there is still much to do.

is a lawyer who likes to speak her mind on issues that concern the man on the street.

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