Archive for the ‘Chinese economy’ category

Chinese State Media: ‘China Is Not Ready’ for Head-On Competition with U.S.

December 22, 2017

Chinese State Media: ‘China Is Not Ready’ for Head-On Competition with U.S., BreitbartFrances Martel, December 21, 2017

The Associated Press

The Chinese state Global Times newspaper published an opinion piece Wednesday sharply deviating from its typical belligerence against the United States, warning that “China is not ready” for competition with the U.S. and that Beijing “must learn from the U.S.” how to grow its economy.

Author Ai Jun’s article, “Is China ready to face direct competition with US?” responds to the title question with a resounding, “No.”

“It is time for China to start deliberating how to face up to direct competition with the US,” Ai advises. “Frankly speaking, China is not ready, since all it has been doing is focusing on its own development and its own growth.”

“Chinese people believe that although the country has become the world’s second-largest economy, a great gap still exists in regard to technology, military, education etc.,” the author notes.

The piece argues that the Chinese government was preparing for a direct challenge from the United States further in the future, when it had properly prepared for confrontation. Now, however, thanks to President Donald Trump, China will have to confront the threat without having the upper hand economically or politically. The United States, it continues, is “disappointed in itself” and the Trump administration is seeking an economic resurgence to boost national morale.

The article notably argues that China needs the United States to advance its economy. “[I]f Beijing wants to become self-sufficient in core technologies like artificial intelligence and electric automobiles and compete with Washington, it must first of all learn from the US.”

It also suggests that Trump’s “America First” policy is as nationalist as China’s policies. “Trump stresses America First doctrine and will not sacrifice US competence when interacting with China. The same goes for Beijing,” it notes.

“Hence China has some hard thinking to do over how to get stronger when the US deems it a major competitor,” the column concludes.

Ai’s assessment echoes, in part, a statement by China’s Ministry of Commerce on Thursday, urging the United States not to compete directly with China.

“Abandoning the Cold War mentality and hegemony, the world’s two largest economies would maintain win-win cooperation and mutual development, and together could push prosperity in the global economy,” Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said, according to the Global Times.

“China has never engaged in, and will never pursue so-called economic aggression policies,” Gao claimed.

President Trump’s National Security Strategy (NSS), published Monday, directly accuses China of such aggression. Calling China a “strategic competitor,” the document accuses China of, among other things, stealing “hundreds of billions of dollars” in American intellectual property; flooding America’s pharmaceutical markets with the deadly opioid fentanyl; using predatory lending practices to establish dominance over developing countries; and targeting its investing abroad to diminish American influence.

In noting that China must learn how to advance technologically from the United States, Ai’s Global Times piece appears to concede that China needs America’s intellectual property to compete on the world stage.

Another article in Chinese state-controlled media appears to take the same conciliary tone as Ai’s, though without conceding that China would lose any direct competition with America. “Nowadays, countries face common challenges and all people aspire to peace, which means the era of settling disputes through conflict has long passed,” writes Curtis Stone. Stone insists that evidence of China’s colonialist push across Asia and Africa exists only in the imagination of those influenced by the “ruthless history of the West and its long-standing goal to run the world.”

“Building a clean and beautiful community of shared future for humankind featuring enduring peace, universal security, common prosperity, and openness and inclusiveness is where the future lies,” the piece notes.

When the Trump NSS first came out on Monday, Chinese government media took a much more strident line, calling the strategy “unbelievable.” Stone, the People’s Daily columnist, declared it “a big joke.”

These newspapers were even more aggressive under President Barack Obama. The Global Times at one point even declared that “war is inevitable” between China and the United States.

China’s War Timing Firming Up

October 18, 2017

China’s War Timing Firming Up, American ThinkerDavid Archibald, October 18, 2017

(Please see also, China’s Secret Military Plan: Invade Taiwan by 2020. — DM)

Part of Obama’s baleful legacy is that during the Scarborough Shoal Incident of April to June 2012, the Filipino president travelled to Washington to ask Obama for U.S. support. Obama didn’t offer support, no operational support followed and China read that as the signal to seize territory from a U.S. ally. As is the usual pattern, the consequence of not dealing forcefully against a minor aggression will lead to a much bigger war down the track.

The Chinese leader that organised the seizure of Scarborough Shoal, Xi Jinping, became a national hero and that gave him the political momentum to see off rivals to become president of the People’s Republic of China the following year. As retired U.S. Navy captain James Fanell noted, while in the West the Scarborough seizure was treated as a minor fisheries dispute, Chinese scholars recognized the significance of Xi’s template for mooting U.S. alliances by undercutting confidence in defense agreements, calling it the ‘Scarborough Model’.

Emboldened by Obama’s acquiescence, China is preparing for a “short, sharp war” to seize the Senkaku Islands from Japan. They are building specialised equipment to that end. Again from Captain Fanell:

Size matters in confrontations at sea, especially between coast guard vessels. As China has sought more of its neighbors’ maritime sovereignty, it has built ever-larger coast guard ships. These are intended to enable its civil maritime forces to carry out China’s  campaign more aggressively (having the biggest ship on scene), and to conduct them at  increasing distances from China’s coastline. As such, China has demonstrated its commitment to have the largest coast guard vessels in the Asia Pacific region. In 2014, China commissioned the largest coast guard cutter in the world, at 12,000 tons, the Zhongguo Haijing 2901. This cutter first went to sea for the first time in May 2015 and is subordinated to the East China Sea area of responsibility. A second ship of the class, CCG 3901, was completed and made ready for operations in January 2016. The Communist Party’s People’s Daily made the purpose of these ships crystal-clear, stating they were designed to have “the power to smash into a vessel weighing more than 20,000 tons and will not cause any damage to itself when confronting a vessel weighing under 9,000 tons. It can also destroy a 5,000-ton ship and sink it to the sea floor.”

Note carefully the combat assault mission of these Chinese Coast Guard ships.

Sinking ships by ramming is a throwback to how triremes did battle in the Mediterranean. It also tells us how China plans to start its war. The super-sized Chinese coast guard ships will ram and sink Japanese coast guard vessels.

When the Japanese Navy responds by sinking the Chinese coast guard ships, the Chinese PLA Navy will come over the horizon with amphibious assault ships. China will claim to be the aggrieved party and offer to end hostilities, leaving it in possession of what it seized.

The Chinese have been doing some dry runs for the conflict to come. Around midday on August 5th, 2016, some 200 to 300 Chinese fishing boats swarmed into the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands of Kuban and Uotsuri, followed by 15 Chinese coast guard vessels by August 9th. Come the actual battle, there will be hundreds of Chinese vessels to be sunk, much like plinking tanks in the deserts of the Middle East.

China’s intent is plain, the next question is the timing. The Communist Party of China has directed the People’s Liberation Army to transform itself into a force that will be ready to take Taiwan by 2020. A Senkaku campaign will be a lot easier than subduing Taiwan, and possession of the Senkakus in turn will make the Taiwan campaign easier to mount by partial envelopment of that island. The PLA Navy is still expanding and China might not start its war until its navy is somewhat larger than it is now. Of particular interest is a new class of amphibious assault ships, the Type 075. Approximately the size of the U.S. Navy’s Wasp-class ships, the Type 075 is projected to carry up to 30 helicopters and have the ability to launch six helicopters simultaneously. The first Type 075 class may be launched in 2019 and in service in 2020. Another four might be built by 2025.

There are a few other considerations which have the potential to bring forward China’s war plans. China’s economic growth is mostly debt-funded construction of unproductive assets, so China’s debt to GDP ratio continues to climb. Everyone knows this is unsustainable, that it will end in tears but nobody knows when. A stalling economy and tens of millions of personal bankruptcies as China’s real estate bubble pops would encourage the regime to distract the public with a foreign military adventure. Then there is the question of China’s energy supply. China’s strategic petroleum reserve is estimated to be about 700 million barrels and still building at one million barrels per day. The Chinese reserve will probably keep building until the day the war starts and U.S. and Japanese submarines begin sinking Chinese tankers.

But the big story in energy, internationally, is the projected peaking of Chinese coal production in 2020 before it starts falling away due to resource exhaustion. Chinese coal production of over four billion tons per annum is about four times the U.S. production level. Coal is the source of two thirds of power generation in China, about the same for chemical feedstocks and is the source of all the nitrogenous fertiliser they use. The energy content of Chinese coal production is equivalent to 58 million barrels of oil per day. The production cost of coal, and thus the cost of doing everything in China, will start rising once production has peaked. It is unlikely that China’s nuclear power sector will expand fast enough to compensate. Thus China’s competitiveness relative to countries that have plenty of coal remaining will fall. This will factor into President Xi’s timing of his war.

Now is the time to ask Lenin’s question “What is to be done?” The important thing is to shun anything made in China because that just funds their aggression. Choose the Samsung offering over the iPhone for no other reason. And be nice to any Japanese or Vietnamese you meet. We need them to have courage.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare