|Asia News Digest
China to U.S.: No More Ping-Pong Diplomacy
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)Prior to and during the Dec. 12-13 China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) with the United States, Chinese officials made clear to U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson that Wall Street cannot dictate terms to Beijing. A team of senior U.S. officials is accompanying Paulson on this trip to Beijing, including Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Trade Representative Susan Schwab, and Health Secretary Mike Leavitt.
"We should avoid unreasonably and unilaterally blaming the other side," vice commerce minister Chen Deming was quoted as saying in the government's English-language China Daily yesterday. Chen also warned that a trend for Americans to politicize trade issues could escalate, as next year's Presidential election approached.
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and other Chinese leaders warned Paulson today that all the anti-Chinese legislation coming out of the U.S. Congress, "will severely undermine" U.S.-China economic relations. Paulson is in Beijing for trade meetings and the third SED, which opened today. Wu Yi is known for never mincing words, and this past August, she sent Paulson to impoverished western China, to show him that China, far from being an economic "threat" to the United States, is still a developing nation.
The urgent need for Chinese-U.S. cooperation dominated the discussions. In something of a duel between Wu and Paulson at the beginning of today's session of the SED, Wu began by saying that the "U.S. shouldn't blame China for the structural problems in its economy." Wu was particularly incensed over the recent spate of anti-China legislation being floated in the Congress. "I am particularly concerned about the 50 protectionist China-related bills introduced in the U.S. Congress. I must candidly tell Secretary Paulson that these bills, if adopted, will severely undermine U.S. business ties with China.... Politicizing trade issues will harm the interests of not just one side, but both sides." U.S.-China relations reflect "interdependence, mutual benefit, and win-win progress.... We must not allow some interest groups to harm our win-win business relations in pursuit of their selfish interests," Xinhua quoted Wu saying.
In his opening remarks, Paulson went after the appreciation of the Chinese currency. "The pace of renminbi appreciation remains one of the key levers to deal with China's internal and external imbalances."
There is a real answer to all the problems about the huge U.S. trade deficit with China and that is, that the U.S. allow China to import advanced technologies. "China has no intention of maintaining a large surplus," Wu said. "I once again call on the United States to relax its export control over hi-tech products for civilian use in China. Our policy is clear. China's door is wide open to American products and the key is what policy the United States should pursue."
"China has been the fastest-growing export market for the United States for five straight years," she said, and could be the third-largest importer of U.S. goods this year, after Canada and Mexico. However, imports are still worth just $6.5 billion compared to $21.7 billion worth of exports, and the answer is to boost U.S. exports to China, she said.
On Nov. 24, Lyndon LaRouche proposed to a Chinese-U.S. conference in Los Angeles, that the United States, China, and other nations work together "to stabilize the world financial system," and his statements were prominently covered in all the official Chinese press. LaRouche has frequently criticized Congressional attacks on China.
Gates Shifts Blame Over Afghanistan Situation to NATO
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)At the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Dec. 11, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did the routine: When things go wrong, awfully wrong, blame somebody else. That somebody else is NATO, America's partner in its war on terror and in its efforts to eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Gates gave his testimony after his third visit to Afghanistan within a year of his becoming Secretary of Defense. He seemed much less optimistic now than he was before he went to Afghanistan recently.
"I am not ready to let NATO off the hook in Afghanistan at this point," he said at the hearing. Ticking off a list of vital requirementsabout 3,500 more military trainers, 20 helicopters, and three infantry battalionsGates voiced "frustration" at "our allies not being able to step up to the plate." Gates called for overhauling the alliance's Afghanistan strategy over the next three to five years, shifting NATO's focus from primarily one of rebuilding to one of waging "a classic counterinsurgency" against a "resurgent Taliban and growing influx of al-Qaeda fighters."
While there is no doubt that most NATO troops avoid military confrontation, Gates has not made clear to anyone what exactly would be achieved by killing more Afghans, who, after six years of U.S. presence in that country, consider the foreign troops as an occupying force under the guise of eradicating terrorism.
Are Britain's Tamil Tigers Threatening Malaysia?
Dec. 11 (EIRNS)A small radical faction of the Indian-Malay minority in Malaysia has unleashed a blatantly British-instigated destabilization of the Southeast Asian nation, with evidence that the group is working with the Tamil Tigers (LTTE)the Sri Lankan terrorist outfit which gave birth to the "suicide bomber" phenomenon, including the suicide bomber assassination of Indian President Rajiv Ghandi in 1991. The Malaysian government announced that the group, the Hindu Rights Action Group (Hindraf), had connections to the Tamil Tigers, after leaders of an unapproved demonstration last month were arrested and charged. Malay sources told EIR that some of those arrested are themselves LTTE members.
Hindraf's accusations against the government are wild exaggerations, claiming "ethnic cleansing" against the Indian minority, which makes up 8% of the population of Malaysia. The group's lawyer, P. Uthayakumar, was arrested today, charged with writing seditious letters to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, accusing the Malaysian government of attacks against Indian-Malays by "Government-backed Islamic extremist violent armed terrorists," destruction of Hindu temples, and ethnic cleansing, while calling on the Brits to "refer Malaysia to the World Court and International Criminal Court."
Also on Dec. 11, the neocons' favorite Malaysian dissident, Anwar Ibrahim, friend and ally of Paul Wolfowitz and Al Gore, claimed he had been temporarily detained upon his return to Malaysia from a trip abroad, which included a stop in India, where he had called on the Indian government to take action against Malaysia's "repression" of the Indian minority. Malaysian immigration officials denied that they had detained him, while the Indian government has refused to provide a hearing for Hindraf representatives.
A leader of Anwar's opposition party, and a leader of the Islamic PAS party, were also arrested today, for organizing other unapproved demonstrations.
The provocations have all the tell-tale signs of British intelligence destabilizations, with neither the Hindu radicals nor Anwar attempting to hide their loyalties to the British and the neoconservatives. The charge of Tamil Tiger connections has been denied by the Hindraf, however. If such connections are confirmed, the Malaysian government will certainly use their Internal Security Act to move against a perceived threat of terrorism.
First Train Rolls Through North-South Korean Border
Dec. 12 (EIRNS)The first regular scheduled train crossed between North and South Korea on Dec. 11, with promises that the line will soon connect to the Trans-China and Trans-Siberian railways, thereby completing one branch of the Great Eurasian Land-Bridge connection between Pusan and Amsterdam. This "Land-Bridge" has been promoted by Lyndon LaRouche since the 1990s as the keystone of the great projects required as a physical-economic base for the construction of a new world monetary-financial system.
The 12-car South Korean train carried curbstones and other construction materials. It was the first scheduled crossing since 1951, other than a symbolic crossing last May. The Korea Times called it "the first tangible result of an inter-Korean summit in October between President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il." The paper add that the service will "slash the cost of transporting products to and from the [Gaeseong] business complex, just north of the border, considered a major achievement of Seoul's 'sunshine' policy of engaging the North over the past decade."
The train returned from Gaeseong to the South later in the day, with goods including shoes, clothes, and watches made at the industrial complex. Trains will run daily on weekdays from Munsan to Gaeseong, carrying up to 10,000 tons of cargo on each run.
"We are reconnecting the last vein that has been severed for 56 years," Lee Chul, president of Korea Railroad, told reporters at Dorasan Station. "This looks like a humble start, but I hope this link will serve as a stepping stone for the inter-Korean railways to be connected to Europe through the Trans-Siberian railway."