|Asia News Digest
China and India Strengthen Ties
There is distinct evidence that China and India have begun to work together to secure the energy they need to fuel their growing economies, the Daily Times of Beijing reported April 4. In volatile political arenas such as Sudan and Myanmar, which are both at odds with the United States, China and India have come together to exploit these countries' oil and gas resources. Many claim that cooperation has not excluded competition between the two. "Although there is competition, both sides share a common aim," said Zhou Fengqi, a high-level adviser in the Energy Research Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission. Indian Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar added, "We are always pitted against each other to the advantage almost always of the third country."
In Sudan's Greater Nile Project, Indians and Chinese are partners. India's Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) has stakes in oil and gas projects in countries including Iran, Russia, Libya, and Australia, and plans to spend about $2 billion this year on overseas acquisitions. The Chinese state oil giant CNPC has invested billions of dollars in projects around the world including Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Algeria, Ecuador, Peru, Chad, and Kazakstan.
China, India Should 'Safeguard Interests of Poor Nations'
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote that India and China should "join hands" to "safeguard the interests of developing nation," in a letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who will be visiting India this week, according to China Daily April 3.
"As the world becomes increasingly interdependent, it is important for our two countries to join hands to harness the positive forces of globalization and safeguard the interests of the developing countries," Singh wrote, in marking the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and China.
"Both India and China share the aspiration to build a just, equitable, and democratic international political and economic order on the twin pillars of multi-polarization and multilateralism," Singh wrote. The sustained growth and diversification of India-China relations in recent years reflected their common commitment to take the bilateral relationship to "new heights, while proactively addressing our differences in a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable manner. As two of the world's largest developing economies, the tasks that we face are profound, but our determination is resolute."
Rising Home Prices Threaten China's Economic Stability
Rising property prices pose a threat to the stability of the Chinese economy, the state council said in a six-page document being circulated to city governments and domestic media, Xinhua reported April 4. In Shanghai, city home prices have risen 18% in the past year, and the situation is "worthy of concern and attention," Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said March 9. In all China, property prices rose 10.8% in the fourth quarter year on year. "Excessive growth in housing prices has directly undermined the ability of city residents to improve their living standards, affected financial and social stability and even influenced the health of the national economy.
"Local governments must put on the agenda the important task of stabilizing housing prices. People in charge will be held responsible if there are no effective measures to prevent housing prices from rising too fast," the document says.
Millions in China Still Live in Abject Poverty
China still has 26.1 million people living in abject poverty, despite its economic growth. Abject poverty in China means living on an income of less than 668 yuan (US$80.5) a year, according to China Daily April 5.
Some 100 million more people live "just above" this level, and anythingan accident, medical problemscan be disastrous for them, Liu Jian, head of the Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development under the State Council, said at a national conference on poverty in early April. It is a strategic mission for China to reverse the situation of the rural poor, he said. Crucial steps include training migrant workers from the countryside, and the acceleration of the industrialization process. Beijing is to allocate 13 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) this year to fight poverty, and all other levels of governments are to match these funds.
China Protests Doubling of Iron Ore Prices
China is putting pressure on Australia to stop BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, from doubling prices of iron ore delivery. The China Iron and Steel Association is publicly complaining that BHP Billiton, which recently raised iron ore prices by 70%, to $46 a ton, is charging too much. Three-quarters of iron ore trade is handled by BHP, Rio Tinto, and Brazil's CVRD. Billiton, by far the nearest to China, is demanding almost 20% more for its ore than China agreed to pay the other two producers, allegedly because China "saves" on getting ore from Australia. If China accepts this, it would mean accepting an eventual 100% increase in the price of iron ore. BHP wants China to raise steel prices by 15% to compensate.
In response, the China Iron and Steel Association has released a statement that "16 major steelmakers, including Baosteel, Anshansteel, and Wuhansteel, have reached a common understanding. They turned down an unreasonable request from Australia's BHP, which has been demanding another $7.50-$10 per ton for freight charge of iron ore, saying the demand was in breach of international convention." The European Commission made a similar complaint last month.
Deadly Thai Bombings Spark Fears of Spreading Insurgency
Deadly April 3 bombings in the southern Thai city of Hat Yai have sparked fears that insurgents may be expanding operations, AFP reported April 4. The bombings hit an airport, a French-owned Carrefour supermarket, and a hotel in Hat Yai, just north of the three largely Muslim provinces in the south, is the south's largest city, with its largest airport. Two people died and some 75 were injured, including four foreigners, in the blasts, which were the most ambitious attacks outside the three mainly Muslim provinces which have been wracked by a separatist insurgency since January 2004.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said his government would not use force to retaliate against the bombers and declined to specifically blame Islamic separatists, saying: "Even though the attackers use violence, the government will maintain its peaceful measures." But national police chief General Kowit Wattana said police believe the attacks were linked to the insurgency that has roiled the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. The April 3 blasts came after a week of new peace efforts by Thaksin's government, which has been widely criticized for his heavy-handed response to the insurgency that has claimed more than 630 lives.
IMF Man Works with Wolfowitz To Subvert Asian Nations
Anwar Ibrahim, the IMF asset who tried to subvert Mahathir in Malaysia in 1998, is working with Paul Wolfowitz to subvert all of Asia. As Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia under Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad when the speculators destroyed the Southeast Asia currencies in 1997-98, Anwar worked with the IMF, Al Gore, George Soros, and others to impose the IMF program on Malaysia, and tried to bring down Mahathir, until Mahathir imposed currency controls and Anwar went to prison in September 1998. Now, the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, formerly run by Anwar's dear friend Paul Wolfowitz, has hired Anwar (released after six years in prison) as a visiting fellow.
Anwar gave his first speech in the U.S. at SAIS on April 5, praising Wolfowitz for his years of friendship and support, and praising him as a great choice for the World Bank.
Anwar then joined in the "Wolfowitz" plan for the subversion of Southeast Asia, trying to turn Indonesia against Malaysia (and ultimately against China, although Anwar would not say so). Malaysia is a dictatorship, in need of regime change, said Anwar, and criticized the U.S. Administration for failing to see this fact. Indonesia, not Malaysia, is the true model of an Islamic democracy, he said. Anwar exposed his game when, after praising the democratization of Indonesia since the economic collapse imposed on it in 1998, as the "greatest Asian event of the century," he added: "Now, if they could just end corruption and get some economic growth, they will be in good shape."
EIR asked Anwar: "The IMF, after destroying several SEA economies, at least had the decency to admit they had made a mistake. You were known as the proponent of IMF policy in Malaysia, until Mahathir stopped it. Will you now also admit that, had your policies been imposed, Malaysia would have suffered the same fate as Indonesia?" Anwar did not shy away from admitting his support for the IMF"but not all the IMF policiesI told them they should not impose cuts on health and education for the poor in Indonesia."
He admitted that he had circulated the policy proposals of George Soros within the government, before his removal from office, and lied that Mahathir had blamed the speculative attacks on "the Jews."