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China Reform Monitor - No. 725

China looks to Asian solutions for financial crisis;
Iran wants into SCO - China has "no problem"

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
November 26, 2008

October 25:

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “Defend Taiwan” marched through Taipei to protest the second round of high-level talks between Beijing and Taipei, scheduled to be held in Taipei in early November. Chen Yunlin, chairman of China’s semiofficial Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung, will seek to continue discussions started in June to introduce direct cargo flights and expand weekend passenger flights to daily service. Mr. Ma said the talks would highlight the equality of Taiwan and China. But thousands of Democratic Progressive Party supporters, including former President Chen Shuiban, who attended the rally, have accused Mr. Ma of making too many concessions and moving too fast in relaxing restrictions on trade and investment with China,
the Associated Press reports.

October 27:

The leaders of 45 countries and organizations from Asia and Europe gathered in Beijing to attend the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting [ASEM] forum and discuss the current international economic and financial situation.
The Wen Wei Po reports that “in a bid to maintain monetary stability in the region” the leaders of China, Japan, and South Korea and their counterparts from the 10 member states of ASEAN have agreed to set up a foreign exchange reserve fund capitalized with up to $80 billion by the first half of 2009. China’s foreign exchange reserves now top $1.9 trillion. “The fact of the matter is that the IMF, founded after World War II under U.S. auspices and charged with the responsibility of handling financial crises, is clearly not up to the task of tackling this once-in-a-century financial tsunami,” the Wen Wei Po wrote.

October 30:

The Agence France-Presse reports that the abduction of nine Chinese workers from the China National Oil Company (CNPC) in Sudan’s southern Kurdufan region has ended in five of the workers deaths. The Sudanese government blamed Darfur rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement for the abductions, but local officials said it was disaffected members of the Messeria tribe, also blamed for kidnapping four Indian oil workers and their Sudanese driver last May. The Saudi owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that the kidnappers had demanded the departure of China’s companies and suspension of all their oil exploration activities immediately as a condition for releasing the hostages.

In a transcript from "Judge for Yourselves,"
one of Russia’s state-controlled Channel One's weekly talk shows, Russian experts debated Moscow’s approach to relations with Beijing. Vitaliy Volchkov, secretary of the Russian union of military Sinologists, called for Russia to "have major joint industrial and economic projects with China.” Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika Fund, agreed, describing China as a "good alternative market" for Russian gas and oil. On geopolitics Nikonov said: "China is our unreserved ally and is totally against NATO expansion. Here, as on many other issues, our military and political interests coincide absolutely. China doesn't regard the USA as a strategic partner." Konstantin Remchukov, however, cautioned that China's aggressive economic policies have lead to its expansion into Russian territories. Aleksandr Sharavin, meanwhile, director of the institute for political and military analysis, called for an independent Russian policy that eschews “political pressure put by China on Russia.”

October 31:

UPI reports Iranian First Vice President Parviz Davoudi has pushed for Tehran’s full membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference of ministers in Astana, Kazakhstan. "Given its strategic and principled policy on expansion of cooperation with regional and Asian countries, Iran has made constant efforts to promote cooperation and interaction with the SCO states," Davoudi told the ministers. While meeting with Davoudi, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao reportedly confirmed Beijing’s support for Iran’s membership. "We believe that there is no problem with Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and we support the idea," Tehran’s official PressTV quoted Wen as saying.

[Editors Note: The SCO, led by China and Russia, also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. India, Iran, Pakistan, and Mongolia are observers. The group has been described by some as pursuing an anti-Western agenda or seeking to model itself as an alternative to NATO.]

Related Categories: Africa; Russia; Central Asia; Military; Iran; China; International Economy; China and East Asia Program

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