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In Asia, Prepare For The Post-Superpower Era

posted 7 Oct 2013, 06:15 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 7 Oct 2013, 06:16 ]

 

Reuters Business  Report - As the U.S. government shutdown drags on...China's in diplomatic overdrive.

China's President Xi Jinping addresses parliament in Indonesia - a first for a foreign leader in Southeast Asia's largest country.

Back in Washington - the U.S. president forced to cancel his Asia trip to deal with a budget crisis that brought the government to a halt.

All over Asia, signs of China's growing influence: from ships parading through the South China Sea to new trade deals with Malaysia.

Is China far better placed to become the dominant power in the region - and is the U.S. pivot in danger of petering out?

I spoke with Tim Beardson, author of the book "Stumbling Giant - the threats toChina's Future". I asked him whether China was challenging U.S. to become the next superpower.

AUTHOR, "STUMBLING GIANT - THE THREATS TOCHINA'S FUTURE", TIM BEARDSON:

"Well first of all, of course America is slipping, has slipped. And I would argue - and I talk about this in the book - that America is no longer the global superpower. But, I also suggest that China is nowhere near becoming one. So I think we're living at the moment in a world where there's no superpower. And that, analysts will often say, is a rather more difficult world to live in."

 REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH:

"What does China need to do to become a superpower? We're seeing them invest in technology, for example."

 AUTHOR, "STUMBLING GIANT - THE THREATS TOCHINA'S FUTURE", TIM BEARDSON:

"Well money is being spent, but often it's being spent by the wrong people in Chinaand achieving sub-optimal results. For example, it's often state-owned enterprises not private companies. It's often foreign multi-nationals who don't want their IP to be widely used in the Chinese economy. And so we're not getting the add-on impact that we need to move China to a higher level of technology. That's one of the problems."

 REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEP:

"What about a military build-up, and political presence on the world stage? Xi Jinping, is he the man to do this for the Party?"

AUTHOR, "STUMBLING GIANT - THE THREATS TOCHINA'S FUTURE", TIM BEARDSON:

"Well, China is gradually expanding its presence in the world, but I think we have to question some of the language which is being used. Hilary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Henry Kissinger have all said China is now re-emerging on the world stage. We have to knock that on the head. China has never been central to world affairs, as Kissinger says. It has never been important in the Americas, in Africa, in Europe, or Australasia. What China has been is a very important power in East Asia. It's army has never been beyond the Caspian. And the idea that China is re-emerging is wrong. China is coming out for the first time."

REUTERS REPORTER, TARA JOSEPH:

"What's the biggest barrier to this re-emergence or this coming out party as you're mentioning?"

 AUTHOR, "STUMBLING GIANT - THE THREATS TOCHINA'S FUTURE", TIM BEARDSON:

"Well the lack of innovation enabling China to move to the next level of economy is very important because that will enable it to fund the various other things that need to be done such as a modern education system. But this becomes circular because without the education system, it's difficult to have the innovation. Without the innovation, it's difficult to improve the economy. We've got to break the circle and actually open things up. We are finding that although China is criticized by theUnited States for its growing military expenditure, it's a thousand miles behindAmerica's military expenditure. And the only way that China can really compensate for that backwardness is that it is a world leader in cyber activity. That's the only thing that China has in its favor militarily. Because otherwise, it's just away number two."


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