Kent Ewing on China Engagement

 Kent Ewing summarizes China’s marginal role within the U.S.’s presidential campaign rhetoric.  This, however, is not to undermine the changes in the relationship that may precipitate from an Obama policy of increased foreign engagement.  From the Asia Times:

Indeed, even during the epic presidential campaign, China – which is laying claim to the 21st century just as America did to the 20th – hardly figured in the conversation except as an infrequently mentioned bogeyman guilty of currency manipulation, exportation of tainted products and – of course – communism, communism and more communism.

The two candidates also failed to explain that China, currently holding US$1.33 trillion in foreign reserves, a significant portion of which is tied up in US Treasury bonds, basically underwrote the sustained boom of the US economy and could now be a key player in managing the recent bust. 


Seventy-three percent of Unocal's natural gas reserves are in Asia

In terms of the economic implications of presumed stronger foreign engagement, Ewing writes:

The next time the China National Oil Corp launches a $18.5 billion takeover fight for a major US corporation – as it did three years ago with a bid to buy Union Oil of California – perhaps it will not be forced to drop that effort because of a wall of political opposition in Washington built on the knee-jerk paranoia that such deals threaten US national security. Unocal then merged with the American Chevron Corp in a $17.5 billion cash-and-stock offer, cooling Chinese interest in any future deals with US companies. 

Indeed, former Secretary of State Colin Powell commented during a speech in Hong Kong recently that:

[…]he didn’t think the leadership of mainland China had “any reason to be concerned over President Obama’s policies.” He added, “I don’t expect he will adopt protectionist policies.”


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