With huge hydrocarbon finds being unearthed in both conventional and unconventional sectors across the Americas, energy independence is being hyped to epic proportions in the United States. The scorecard now shows 6.5 trillion unconventional barrels of oil in the Americas, running from Canada all the way to Argentina, versus 1.2 trillion conventional barrels in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. and Brazil sit comfortably in the middle of the expected windfall, and even Mexico, long lost to the annals of hydrocarbon blunders, boasts major new unconventional reserves. Given the awesome scale of these figures, it is hardly surprising […]
BEIJING — Following recent declines in headline inflation, weak power generation in October and deepening financial losses for power companies, speculation has once again picked up regarding potential coal and electricity pricing reform in China. While some form of price adjustment looks imminent, structural reforms to pricing mechanisms affect multiple domestic interest groups and are proving hard to manage for the party-state. Beyond pricing, many broader reforms are already delayed, and the struggle to build consensus looks likely to cause further disruption. China’s ambition to wean itself off coal is well-documented. Draft versions of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) outlined […]
It is hard to think of a period in the past five decades in which this country was more painfully bereft of national leadership than it currently finds itself. On one side we have an increasingly isolated president who, as Edward Luce opined recently, “prefers to campaign than govern.” On the other is a House-controlling GOP that, in the words of Thomas Friedman, “has gone nuts.” What’s more, the highly negative campaign that 2012 is shaping up to be will secure no governing mandate for the eventual winner, meaning that things are likely to get far worse. The result will […]
It is usually difficult to judge with certainty the outcome of international summits in their immediate aftermath. But last weekend’s East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia, made at least one thing clear: The Obama administration has managed to mend the rift with the member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations that emerged under President George W. Bush. At Bali, President Barack Obama received strong and positive feedback from ASEAN countries. And in advance of the summit, he strengthened the United States’ historic alliance with Australia, a country that seems to be emerging with a new role in […]
President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Australia highlighted, in a very deliberate way, a decision to shift U.S. attention and resources away from the Middle East and toward East Asia. Obama’s remarks to the Australian Parliament, combined with his announcement of a new basing agreement at Darwin, on Australia’s northern coast, framed several days of discussions on the role that the United States would play in Asian power politics. Sam Roggeveen of the Lowy Institute of International Politics, an Australian foreign policy think tank, suggested that Obama’s speech in Canberra was as important and consequential as the Cairo speech of […]
India has reportedly drafted plans to increase its military presence along its border with China. In an email interview, Jabin T. Jacob, assistant director of the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, India, and the assistant editor of China Report, discussed the state of the India-China border conflict. WPR: What are the core unresolved issues regarding the India-China border? Jabin T. Jacob: The main point of contention in the Sino-Indian boundary dispute was originally the Aksai Chin area in the Indian northwest. China had built a road to Lhasa through the area, setting off the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962. This […]
President Barack Obama’s Asian trip is being hailed as a diplomatic triumph, and to the extent that the three-stop tour delivered both concrete and symbolic accomplishments, that assessment is correct. In Hawaii, Obama strengthened the chances that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will become the cornerstone of future trade integration in the region. In Australia, he announced a small but symbolically resonant agreement to station U.S. Marines at an Australian base. And at the East Asia Summit in Indonesia, he very visibly underscored America’s renewed commitment not just to Asia, but to the region’s multilateral institutional architecture that the Bush administration had […]
Geopolitical tension between China and United States seemed to reach new heights this week, with the U.S. announcing a new troop presence in Australia and China reacting to the announcement with a predictable level of irritation. But China’s own evolving posture is equally worthy of scrutiny as the strategic chess match between the two grows increasingly militarized. Most recently, China announced that five patrol ships from one of its maritime forces — the Yunnan Provincial Border Control Corps — will be deployed along the Mekong River, which runs from China along Laos’ borders with Myanmar and Thailand, and into Cambodia […]
A long-time concern for Chinese Communist regime officials has been trying to maintain the export-driven model that has led to high-speed growth. That’s becoming more and more of a challenge, especially given decreased spending power and increased caution among overseas buyers.
U.S. President Barak Obama’s unveiling this week of plans for a deepened U.S. military alliance with Australia seems to fit naturally into the growing narrative of U.S. attempts to counter the rise of Chinese military power in Asia. But for Australia, where U.S. Marines will for the first time be stationed on a base in the northern city of Darwin, the development has caused quite a stir. While it won bipartisan political and widespread public support, Australian analysts are split on the development’s deeper significance as well as the question of whether the timing is right for their country to […]
Despite expectations, the 10th Meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 7, 2011, did not announce the addition of any new full members or full observers. The SCO governments have repeatedly claimed that they need more time to establish the rules and procedures to govern new members. In reality, the existing members have proven unable to overcome their differences regarding which countries should receive membership or observer status. Indeed, some appear to fear that membership enlargement would weaken rather than strengthen the organization. Clearly the SCO remains stuck in […]
On Oct. 31, the global population was estimated to have reached the 7 billion mark. On the eve of that momentous day, Li Bin, director of China’s State Population and Family Planning Commission, announced that China would retain its one-child fertility policy to do its part to slow world population growth. This news will have come as a bitter disappointment to the Chinese demographers and policymakers who have been calling for a relaxation of the one-child policy for several years. Wang Yuqing, the deputy director of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Committee on Population, Natural Resources and the Environment, […]
U.S. President Barack Obama is turning up the heat on America’s biggest economic rival, calling on China to play by the same rules as everyone else.
Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on the unlikelihood of a Chinese contribution to a financial bailout of Europe. Part I examined the domestic obstacles to a Chinese contribution. Part II examines the European obstacles to a Chinese contribution. SHANGHAI — Due to multiple ideological and practical obstacles, major Chinese participation in any European rescue plan would require significant material concessions from European leaders to gain any traction among Chinese policymakers and citizens. So far, proposed concessions have been largely symbolic, such as promises to recognize China’s market economy status. Moreover, China prefers to deal either […]
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the unlikelihood of a Chinese contribution to a financial bailout of Europe. Part I examines the domestic obstacles to a Chinese contribution. Part II will examine the European obstacles to a Chinese contribution. SHANGHAI — Recent optimism regarding possible Chinese involvement in addressing the European debt crisis is misplaced given China’s domestic political and economic conditions, resistance within the European Union itself and the growing international perception that Europe’s leaders simply do not have the capacity to design a sustainable solution for the continent’s economic woes. The disappointing outcome […]
Under what circumstances could the United States and China go to war? A recently released RAND report (.pdf) examined this question and unsurprisingly concluded that war between the two countries was improbable, even while identifying North Korea and Taiwan as the two most likely flashpoints. The report found that a war with China was improbable because the costs in any scenario would be virtually incalculable, in large part because it might induce a global financial collapse. Nevertheless, U.S. and Chinese military strategists will continue long-term planning for war scenarios against one another, with a time horizon of up to 50 […]
A report to U.S. Congress says cyber espionage from China and Russia is happening on a massive scale. The report comes in response to growing complaints from the business community that their networks are coming under regular attack.