China and other countries do things differently.
In the world of geo-politics, China’s global strategies have long been aimed at building trade partnerships. BRICS – the acronym for rising economic powers such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and now including South Africa – has been on the agenda since 2009.
Chinese investment in Africa has been expanding. Since the Premier of the People’s Republic, Zhou Enlai, made a visit to Africa in 1963, African nations have been on the Chinese radar. Chinese national television now has significant news broadcasting time devoted to Africa, including daily English language progams. Last year, Chinese investment in Africa grew by a massive 515% compared to 2015 figures. It’s been suggested that Chinese commercial loans in Africa break down the power of the IMF, an organisation long believed to have contributed to the Third World debt crisis and causing, instead of alleviating, poverty in many nations.
The New Silk Road is a geopolitical strategy designed to build bridges between China, Eurasia, and Europe. Trillions of dollars are being invested in infrastructure, which contribute to the development of new trading partners. 2016 saw the opening of a train line, carrying cargo from China to Iran – siginficantly shortening the old sea route trading system that had taken over 30 days. Jiangsu province has a direct link to Afghanistan, and there are five international lines from Yiwu , (Righteous Ravens) the small commodity market town.
Then there’s the Asia Infrastructure Bank, initially suggested by China way back in 2009, officially launched by Xi Jinping, China’s current President, in 2013, and officially launched in 2016. Britain led the way for European investors in a move highly criticised by Washington, France, Germany and Portugal soon followed suit, then a host of other players joined – including Australia and New Zealand.
As you can see from the above projects, China has been slowly and steadily building trade partnerships and investment strategies which are bilateral, multilateral, and generally bypass the IMF/WB.
What did we mean when we said “China does things differently?
President Xi gave a speech to the World Economic Forum, on January 17th, three days before Trump was inaugurated. Xi called for continued economic globalisation as a source of prosperity for all. Not once did he mention the change of administration in the USA, but the content of his speech was a major rebuke for Trumpian policies of protectionism.
China’s method, long evidenced, is to build up legitimate and authentic new structures amonst Asian and European nations. It’s also significantly increased it’s domestic economy, to soften the blows on any potential Trump-led trade war.
Whilst ordinary people in the USA, Britain, Australia and other countries have come out on the street in their millions, building alliances and a political movement that refuses to bow down to Trump led policies, in the geopolitical arena, China is continuing to build a new economic order.
China’s approach is thoughtful, long-term, carefully planned and executed. It is based on numerous multilateral agreements, and unlike the European Union, does not rest on developing a common currency.
Most of the world knows that Trump is leading the world on a dangerous path. He has signalled that Japan, led by a man who refuses to admit that any atrocities occurred during WW2, much less admit that the Rape of Nanjing happened, is the USA pivot point in Asia. It’s been claimed he used “twitter wars” to inflame the already volatile and unpredictable leadership of North Korea.
China, on the other hand, has signalled to the world it’s peaceful engagement based on mutual economic benefit. The Huffington post says this
“China’s reemergence is peaceful and its opening up to the world is a global opportunity. ”
Even Bloomsberg has noted that China is moving to fill a world leadership vaccum created by the Trump era. Given that it’s only a few days since inauguration – watch this space. The world is about to change.
Sources can be access via the links in the texts. The following sources have been used: